16 March 2013

Saturday Spotlight: Reading Under the Stars

What is Saturday Spotlight? It's where I drag bloggers onto my blog for an interview. It's not part of a hop or any organized event. It's merely a way to feature bloggers and get inside their heads a bit. Like a psych session, but fun.


ABOUT THE BLOG

When did your blog come into existence?
20th June 2012. Originally I intended to start it at the end of July/beginning of August when the summer holidays began so I could just concentrate on it without school interfering, but I got too impatient and eventually gave up trying to hold it off.
Your blog in three words:
Inconsistent, purple, MINE.
What makes your blog yours, meaning unique?
Well, I guess a lot of people say this, but I do try to put a lot of effort and passion into my reviews, giving it my own voice. But apart from that, after reading Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi last month and falling hopelessly in love with it, I decided to do something like a review, but in the format of a letter. So I wrote a letter to Juliette (which you can find here.) I was quite nervous about putting it up, unsure what people would think about it, but it seemed that everyone really enjoyed it. After that I decided I’d make it into a monthly feature. It may or may not start officially this month, I need to come up with a name for it first and then get a badge for it. *shamelessly shoots puppy eyes at Amelia* But really, it all comes down to time. But that’s something to be looking out for!
How did you come up with your blog name?
When I first decided to create a blog, I came up with a couple of different names. And then, when I started to think about it more, I literally just sat down and created a list of names. I think I first named it Tea, Book and Candle, a play on Bell, Book and Candle, then decided I didn’t like that. ‘Reading Under the Stars’ sounded like it kind of fit what I wanted my blog to be like. And so it was that my blog came to have its name.

ABOUT THE BLOGGER

How did the blog-bug bite (why did you start blogging)?
GoodReads. That was how I came across so many amazing blogs, and when I saw them, I knew I just had to be a part of it, regardless of the time issues or anything else. I hadn’t even thought about blogs before, didn’t really realize there was such a community of people dedicated to blogging about books. As soon as I did, I was a goner.
Do you have a review that you’re particularly proud of?
Is it bad that I have two? The first is my review of Pushing the Limits. I think this was one of the only reviews, if not the only review, that I wrote straight after reading the book. And I think – I hope – that it conveys the emotion I felt after reading it. That was truly an amazing book. I remember just sitting there, staring at it, after I finished. The other is my review of Angelfall by Susan Ee. Yet another astounding read. I think I put a lot more into this review as well, compared to all my others. I’m not sure if it was the fact that I loved them both so much that enabled me to write better reviews, but certainly these are much better than my average review.
Is there a blog that inspired you/still inspires you?
Realm of Fiction. Sam was among my first few friends when I joined GR – in fact, she may well have been my first friend on there that I didn’t know personally – and I was in awe of her reviews. They are incredibly well-written, and even now I’m amazed by just how good and detailed they are. Her blog is updated really frequently, upholding a consistency that I could only dream of, and you can see just how many people love it. Saz101 is another incredible blog. Sarah’s voice is so incredibly clear in her blog, and everything about the blog is hers, down to the way she structures her reviews. Even reading her comments, it’s so obviously her. You can see just how enthusiastic and bubbly she is. These are the two that come straight to mind, but there are loads of blogs out there that inspire me.
What excites you most about being a book review blogger?
The interaction. With bloggers, authors, publishers. You get to gush over books, knowing that your readers get exactly how you feel. Authors become real people who you can actually approach, and it’s made all the more amazing by the fact that, in our world – our world of books – authors are the celebrities. The rock stars. They’re the ones whose autographs we want to possess and who we’re all dying to meet face to face. And of course, the publishers, who enable so many of our reviews to happen. I love being able to interact with all these different people and have the sense of community that comes from that.
Five books everyone should read:
  1. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry – emotional, magical, McGarry’s writing is flawless.
  2. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi – I absolutely loved her writing style; it put me into Juliette’s mindset perfectly.
  3. Blood Red Road by Moira Young – Young is another author who has experimented with writing, this time in terms of language. It made for a truly fantastic reading experience.
  4. Anything by Cassandra Clare – I’d probably read her shopping list if I could, she’s that awesome.
  5. Forbidden by Tabitha Suzama – I was a bit hesitant adding this one because I know the subject is a difficult one. But the way it’s written is sensitive, beautiful, thought-provoking and so emotional. Reading this was one of the best reading decisions I ever made.
If a new blogger came up to you for advice, what would you tell them?
Have fun. And be you. A blog is a personal thing, whatever you’ve created it for, and it should be filled with your own voice, with everything about who you are. That, more than anything, is what makes it stand out from any other blog. It should be something you enjoy doing, rather than a chore. If you feel like you’re not having fun with it, step back for a while and only go back to it when you’re ready. Don’t feel under pressure to do anything. I was going to say don’t be afraid to ask for help, but I guess that’s kind of redundant. So I’ll settle with, know that everyone in the blogosphere is really understanding, so experiment, take a break, do whatever you need to make your blog work for you. Make it yours! :)

ABOUT THE GAL

What got you into reading?
I don’t actually remember. I only remember always having a book in my hand, or going to the library to search for something else to read. Now it’s something I’m curious to know the answer to. *strokes chin*
What is your ideal reading spot?
In bed, or curled up on a chair, preferably with a cup of tea in hand. At the moment I pretty much live in my room, so I often read there.
Do your friends and family know about your blog?
My dad knows, and when I told him he got really excited about it. Whenever he sees me on my laptop he asks me if I’m blogging, assuming I do it every waking hour. It’s kind of got to the point where I wish I hadn’t said anything lol. My mum…I’m not sure. She saw me on Blogger one day and asked me what I was doing, and I told her I had a blog. She’s never mentioned it since, and it’s entirely possible that she’s forgotten. My brothers have been around whenever my dad and I have spoken about the blog, but they didn’t comment on it, and I’m not even sure if they were listening. A couple of my closest friends know, and one of them definitely visits it fairly often. I’m not sure about the other.
What are three things people may not know about you?
  1. For people who don’t know me in real life, I’m an introvert and horribly awkward. I can act on stage just fine, I’m confident in front of an audience – but when it comes to actually interacting with people, I suck.
  2. I hate clowns. I’m not afraid of them, but they look and act more creepy than fun.
  3. I’ve thought about getting a purple highlight in my hair sometime after I’ve left home. I almost certainly won’t, because I don’t like the idea of what colouring will do to my hair, but the inner rebel in me thinks it would look pretty cool.
If you had a superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it?
Time travel. History is one of my greatest passions along with books, and I’d love to be able to go back to the past and experience different times and lifestyles. Space travel would be awesome too, but I guess that classes as another superpower. Looks like I’ll have to wait for the TARDIS after all. *sighs*