I’m meeting my second reader-reviewer who has accepted my invite to be interviewed. I won’t dare say I possess some sort of mental telepathy, though I do work off instinct quite a bit, but when I caught a risqué comment on Book Blogs I must admit my curiosity was stoked.
Sharing much about why I write, and the books I write, it’s just as interesting to learn about the vibes stirring on the other side of “my” coin. Questions such as reading preferences and how and why a genre was chosen interest me. How long has the reader-reviewer been reading, and reviewing, and do they read only one genre, or many? The more I mix and mingle in the book world, the larger and more absorbing the picture is becoming.
Barb, mom, wife, and blogger of Risqué Reviews, is another prime example. Exemplified in this lively interview she typifies how interesting and enjoyable exploring the rich tapestries of books can be.
OEB: What made you start blogging for Risqué Reviews, and what are some of the pluses and minuses you find of blogging?
RR: Blogging is still a very new thing for me. I hadn’t really thought about a blog until the option to add a blog directly to my site became available. Blogging seemed to be all about comments, followers, and “fans”. I never wanted that for my website, so when I decided to add a blog spot, it was just with the intention for commentaries and a nice option for a “guest” to be added. I liked that and suddenly “I’m Just Saying” was born.
As I became more familiar with the blogging world I became more intrigued. I thought this might be good avenue to reach more people and I liked the option to have it linked to my website, but still have the blogging be its own entity. That is how Reviewer Extraordinaire got started. Although I love my blog and I am very proud of it, I must admit, setting up my website was much easier! Setting up the blog has been a real challenge for me and at times I find it a bit overwhelming, to be honest. So although I am pleased with the progress of the blog, one could say I’m still getting my feet wet as far as the direction I want to take.
The challenges of blogging are actually among one of the reason’s I joined “Book Blogs” was to see what others were doing. I thought it could help me to shop get ideas. For a while I got so focused on it I started to let the whole reason I started this to slip; my reviews. So that has been a minus for me, I need to step back from it and get focused again on my reviewing.
OEB: As you might know, when I caught one of your responses on Book Blogs clarifying that you did not read YA books, it made me curious. Elaborate a little on what is it that alienates you from reading or enjoying YA Romance?
RR: Alienate is such a strong word. True, but strong *grin*. I know a lot of adults like the YA romances today. I just don’t see the attraction. I read romances because I like the sex. There I said it. SEX!
I actually got Twilight when it first came out. I didn’t want to, but everyone was saying, “No it’s not just for teenagers. You like this kind of stuff, you know vampires, werewolves this is right up your alley, you’re gonna love it!” Well, let’s just say that’s the last time I listen to them, because getting intrigued by teenagers and their adventures and raging hormones just seemed wrong. I don’t know, suddenly the heroine had my daughters face and…..EWWWWWW. I was done.
Besides I’ve been to high school; I didn’t like it then and I don’t want to go back.
Even if they had romances like the ones they have today when I grew up, I doubt they would have held my attention for long. Why? Well quite by accident I found my mom’s copy of Valley of the Dolls. It had been out for 2 years, I was 12 years old. I knew this was hidden for a reason, so I started reading…I was captivated, it was right there in front of me and I loved every heart pounding, rock and rolled, sex drugged moment it could throw at me. It was gritty, raw and intensely emotional. I was enthralled, it was like being right there. These weren’t just “characters” in a book, this felt real. There were no innuendos or hidden meanings, it was right there in your face. This was like Christmas morning and I had just opened up the best gift ever, my imagination. I felt everything, their pain, sorrow; I cried and laughed, OUT LOUD. Amazing. These were adults living life, and I was just a kid and outside of the four walls of my bedroom and TV (which only had 4 channels). I had no idea the outside world could be so exciting. For the first time I truly understood the power of a book and I liked it. Talk about a book that fit the times. Even by today’s standards Valley of the Dolls would not be considered YA material. Hopefully, that gives you a better understanding as to why I don’t enjoy YA.
OEB: I also understand you enjoy reading fantasy (super hero) and paranormal erotic romance. Excluding those two sub-genres, are there any other favorite romance sub-genres that you enjoy reading?
RR: Growing up, I did I love historical romance, but then they started to get redundant. It was almost like they were just different authors rewriting the same story. Something was missing. I stopped reading for a long time (it was a very dark time). Then I came across a book with a hero who also happened to be this devilishly handsome vampire and once again we were off to the races. It wasn’t so popular when I first started so they were hard to come across, (no internet or ebooks yet) but I would go over those bookshelves with a fine-tooth comb until I found one. Now it’s so easy to find whatever you want. It’s great.
I never really liked contemporary, because, well they are present-day based. I have present-day EVERY DAY. I read to get away from present-day. Besides they just seemed ho-hum, not really gritty enough. A few authors like Nora Roberts held my attention for a while, but still something was missing. Then writers like Joey W. Hill and Jaci Burton started showing up and all of a sudden the contemporary is beginning to look pretty good again. Also, authors like J.R. Ward are mixing up the paranormal world with the “real” world and putting a nice spin into the mix that is quite interesting. Now the contemporary genre is starting to catch my eye again.
OEB: What is your least favorite reading genre? And why?
Ok now what do I say ….ummm??? Actually, that’s easy to answer. I’m not big into having the skin scared off me, so Stephen King is out! I read the Exorcist, great book, couldn’t sleep without a light for months, so that is not what I’m going for. I want my demons sexy, not spitting green and crabs walking down the stairs…nope, no, nada, zip, “forget about it” not happening…
OEB: Other than any books in least favorite genre, was there ever a time when you had to put a book down, or throw it against a wall? If so, why? And if not, then how have you been so lucky avoiding books you don't enjoy?
RR:No one is lucky enough to hit a winner every time. I like the sexual component true, but not just sex for the sake of it. I think sometimes authors forget it’s not the amount of sex that’s sexy; it’s the quality as it pertains to the story that’s sexy. So if I find myself yawning, because they’re going at it again, for me at least, they’ve missed the mark. I just can’t finish the book and it goes into the, “another bites the dust” pile☺.
I remember one book though I did want to throw against the wall and then the author right after it. The female character was a vampire slayer. The blurb came off more along the line of an Anita Blake type character like in Laurel Hamilton’s books… they lied. As I began reading it, I realized that the character was “Buffy” everyone’s favorite vampire slayer. The similarities were so neck and neck I couldn’t believe the nerve. She was of course supposed to be this prodigy (blah blah blah)… vampires quacking with fear (blah blah blah)...This chick got into so many situations she needed to be rescued from, I actually lost count. It was just embarrassing. It was one of the few times I actually got mad at an author for writing such a dumb character. It was sad.
OEB: How do you make your reading selections? (Through other reviews? From NY Times Best Seller lists? etc.)
RR: I’ve always been a blurb reader. If I like the blurb, I am going to read it. As you can see from the last answer, sometimes you win, sometimes you throw books at walls. Sure, I’ve been known a time or two to check out reviews, especially if I’m on the cusp of whether or not to buy the book. I look for different things than maybe the average person would in a review, but yes, reviews help. However, I have to say a cover can do it for me. How professional is that? I have been known to pick a book based on nothing more than the cover and title to go on. Covers today really have come along nicely I think. Less “nekked” breast and more “nekked” chests. Yum.
OEB: What is your all-time favorite book? And what was it about that book that snagged your attention?
To date it’s The Vampire Queens Servant, by Joey W. Hill. See, this is a perfect example of where a book’s cover sold me. I didn’t care. I saw that cover and all I thought about was “want it now”! I’d never heard of Joey W. Hill. I had no idea what kind of writer she was, but the cover knocked me out. The book is intense. This series is intense. You see a pattern with me saying, “something’s missing” when I don’t like a book. Well, I’ve read my share of books that had a bit of slap and tickle, but they always seem to pull back, something was missing. She found it.
OEB: Do you prefer reading physical books or ebooks?
I love physical books, but I do read a lot of e-books. E-books are an easier way for publishers and authors to send me their books. But I love the feel of a real book; I love the smell when I walk into a bookstore. I feel bad, because this is really the end of an era we’re seeing and soon the “book store” will be a thing of the past.
OEB: What are some of your favorite book sites where you hang out? And why?
Let’s see, I enjoy hanging out at Joey Hill’s Fan Forum, always something going on there. It’s not all about her stuff. You can start your own discussion, but you don’t have to worry about monitoring it. Most times there are like regular conversations. You start off on one thing and it takes on a life of its own. Or you can pick a room, and just see what others are talking about. It’s very casual. Everyone’s very considerate. There is one thing. It’s based off her Vampire Queen series, so I think it would help if you at least like vampires.
I also recently joined Goodreads, and it has proved to be a pretty interesting place. It’s a free website for book lovers. Their description contains the words “imagine a large library that you can wonder through and see everyone’s bookshelves, their reviews, and their ratings. You can post your own reviews and catalog what you have read, are currently reading, and plan to read. There are discussion groups, book clubs, you can contact an author and even post your own writing”. Not too shabby.
Then last, but not least Book Blogs. I joined here because it’s geared towards people with blogs. I wanted to see what others were doing, hear some thoughts, maybe bounce some ideas, etc. So far I’ve met some really great folks. Have had a bit of trouble with spamming, but the administrators seem to really be trying hard to stay on top of that. So it really hasn’t been an issue. You just have to use your common sense. The spam is pretty obvious.
OEB: What are the titles you have lined up to read next?
That’s funny; I have so many books lined up its almost scary. I have 35 prints in front of me right now. I don’t know how many ebooks. Thank god, not all are allocated for reviews.
Here’s a few:
1. Circle City, Lord of the Wolfen by Alisha Paige
2. Hunger Untamed by Pamela Palmer
3. FERAL FASCINATIONS by Skhye Moncrief
4. Afterlight by Elle Jasper
5. Eternal Rider by Larissa Lone
6. Primal Bonds by Ashley Jennifer
7. Afterlife by Joey W. Hill
Thank you for this opportunity to share some thoughts, have some fun, and see what it feels like to be on this side of the interview. I really enjoyed myself and hope that my answers helped you rather then confused you.
“It is not true we have only one life to love, if we can read, we can live as many lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish.”
~ S.I. Hayakawa ~
Whew! I Love It! Thanks Barb!
Read more over at Risqué Reviews or Reviewer Extraordinaire