Tell me about the person behind the blog?
My name is Emma Reed and I am forty and work as an administrator.Due to a fairly daily arduous commute, I get a fair amount of reading time on work days. Reading is my refuge and my passion.
I live with my Partner who has mental health issues that often means we’re are unable to travel due to his anxiety and so reading, has had to be refuge and a means of travel and adventure at times.
When did you start blogging and why?
To be perfectly honest it was a favour to a friend who liked my writing asked me to write some reviews to add to a campaign to save an ill-fated US television show (just check out my early posts to see what that was… I was a bit obsessional! ) I began by reviewing Tv and Films to get my hand in and to sneaking in posts about the show as a sneak attack to get folk reading about my addiction.
From the very start my style was to veer away from straight synopsis and to look at theme, imagery and symbolism, the humanity of the stories and I realised that I was getting the best reader numbers from the posts that were more story and character focused and realised it would be easy to apply the same approach to all of the books I was reading and so the blog has really evolved into a straight book review site.
What are your proudest moments or achievements to date as a blogger?
When I approached my first author for an informal interview and they agreed to let me, a total unknown and amateur; ask them the burning questions in my heart that I thought others might be asking.
My Ever Grateful thanks to Ashlyn Macnamara for letting me have a punt at interviews with her new novel series The Bastard Brotherhood as my muse. Interviews with authors are really something I would like to do more.
If you had to breakdown the components of your ideal perfect book what would they be?
A setting that is outside the norm, either a fantasy place that has been rarely touched upon or a place on Earth that is generally considered one way by the majority but the story itself creates a different view, some that have really ticked this box have been the books by Khaled Hosseini and the seminal “Cutting for stone “ by Abraham Verghese.
They should be about ordinary people who are put into an extraordinary situation. This conflict can change them or galvanise something laying dormant or just return them to a state that life or circumstance might have wrung out of them over time.
There should be strong plot development with little in the way of cliché. I fully understand that authors mirror the styles of those that have inspired them, but when they use that inspiration to write “something like” rather than in their own voices turns me right off . I even avoid books that make comparisons… “a modern take on….” Or fans of ( Huge Seller) will love.
In the early days of the blog I would try to correlate what I had read with bestsellers, but realised this was a disservice to the new books I read and the authors who had slogged for hours to present their own tale to me.
Now I tend to concentrate on New or independent authors for the blog, trying to encourage readers and new authors or those outside the mainstream to come together.
What is your favourite genre to read?
Give me an easy one! Ask me next week and my answer will change, but in general my very favourites fall into two distinct camps. Firstly a book written for a younger audience or YA that has large elements of fantasy or established world folklore at it’s heart. The second where an outsider, someone irascible, anti social or cantankerous is dragged kicking and screaming into society through misadventure or necessity. The genre into which these might fall can vary to deliberately humorous, melodrama or even cosy. To me Character is key and any author who creates an authentic character might entice me into genres I might not ordinarily enjoy.
(If a vampire were to fall into the plot, all the better !)
What 3 books do you recommend more than others and why?
- Major Pettigrew’s Last stand by Helen Simonson
- Five quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris
- Cheekily – The Whole Dark Tower series by Stephen king, but if forced to choose Wizard and Glass!
The first for it’s sheer fun factor, poking fun at village life and small minded nimbyism The second for it’s sensual imagery and magical realism set in wartime France The third because I like nothing more than a real saga quest with cantankerous monosyllabic heroes and their motley band of misfits!
Finally, tell me more about your blog and why we should subscribe.
It is a simple format. I read a book and then write about what I have gained from reading it, I am of the belief that negative reviews are never constructive so I leave it to my reader to make their own mind up as to whether they might like something that was not to my taste.
I am passionate about the books I review, I always try to be as diverse in the styles of book I read, so that the reviews never get stale and I am a prolific reader so there is always likely to be something new waiting for the regular subscriber. Because I do not stick with one genre.
I am happy to review books on request if authors enjoy my style or think I might have a particular affinity with their subject matter.
I find tooting my own horn really hard, but I guess the best advertisement would be to let a reader response speak for me.
“I couldn’t actually read the book (too depressing), but Emma Reed ‘s prose makes her book reviews a delight to read!”
Too kind, but a perfect way to describe my ethos when it comes to the blog.
Simply that all books are good books. Reading the RIGHT book for you is the main thing and if my reviews help you decide to try someone new or outside your normal reading likes and dislikes. I will be happy or on the other hand if I ward you away from a book that might have tempted in the jacket blurb but would actually have been a chore. By freeing you up to read something else that makes you passionate, then I will consider my job well done!
You can read more about Emma and subscribe to her blog by clicking here