Author Spotlight: Dana Bate

girls supper

On Wednesday, Dana Bate was here talking about favorite characters and inspiration for The Girls” Guide To Love And Supper Clubs- today she is back to reveal her #literaryconfessions *beware- she thinks her reader card needs to be taken away!


Author Spotlight: Dana Bate

Dana- who are some of your favorite authors?

I’m regularly inspired by the writings of Jennifer Weiner, Nick Hornby, Jonathan Tropper, Sophie Kinsella, Lolly Winston, and Sarah Pekkanen, all of whom portray relationships and family dynamics in a way that is both thoughtful and humorous. I also love Richard Russo, Maria Semple, Gillian Flynn, Anne Tyler, and, in terms of classics, Charles Dickens.


What book or books will you always make room for on your book shelf?

Julia Child’s MY LIFE IN FRANCE. I adored that book. Child’s passion leaps through the pages. Her enthusiasm is contagious.


Are you a hardback, paperback or e-book kind of reader?

Paperback and e-book. I occasionally read hardbacks, but you’re much more likely to find me reading one of the other two.


Do you have any #literaryconfessions? 

I haven’t read the Harry Potter series. Or THE HUNGER GAMES. I know. I might as well trade in my reader card now. #readerfail


Do you have a #literarycrush?

I have a few. One is Sydney Carton in A TALE OF TWO CITIES. I know. What, what? But he was so tortured, so damaged…and yet he makes the ultimate sacrifice. In the modern remake, he’d be the one all the women wanted. At the other end of the spectrum, there was something very appealing about Brady in Caprice Crane’s STUPID AND CONTAGIOUS. He was a big goofball, but he was very endearing.


What books are you looking forward to reading in 2013?

With a new baby, my TBR list keeps getting longer and longer! He doesn’t allow much time for reading, the little stinker. Here are just a few on my TBR list: Khaled Hosseini’s latest, AND THE MOUNTAINS ECHOED; Rainbow Rowell’s ELEANOR AND PARK; Jess Walter’s BEAUTIFUL RUINS; Sophie Kinsella’s WEDDING NIGHT; and, of course, the latest installment of BRIDGET JONES.


What is the best book you have read (so far) in 2013?

Tough call! I’ve read so many good books this year. I think I’ll go with WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE? – just because it was so much fun.


Some say books go best with chocolate- what do you think books go hand in hand with? Chocolate? Wine? Dessert?

A warm, milky mug of chai. Perfect.


*Special thanks to Dana Bate for agreeing to this author spotlight!


If you enjoyed reading about Dana’s #literaryconfession and more- check out her website, Facebook and Twitter page!


Bloggers Made Of AWESOME: Cindi @ Utah Mom’s Life

Cindi, like me, is a member of She Reads. When She Reads tweeted that A Utah Mom’s Life was joining She Reads- I tweeted her “hello and welcome to the group”- and the rest is history.  Cindi is opinionated about books- she’s passionate about reading- and fun to talk with.

Bloggers Made Of AWESOME: Cindi @ Utah Mom’s Life

Cindi- when did you begin blogging?

I’ve been blogging for about six years. I had a private family blog and Utah Mom’s Life for things I wanted to share publicly. About four years ago, I decided to combine the two into a single blog. It drives my mom crazy because she wants more pictures of the kids and I tend to write more about books.


How did you come up with the name A Utah Mom’s Life?

It’s a simple name for a blog but I actually thought about it for a long time. I wanted something that conveyed everything that I wanted to write about. It’s personal since most of my time is spent being a mom to my five kids. It’s specific to my geographic location which was good since I often write about local activities. Plus it pops up quickly in search engines. It encompasses all the important parts of my life — books, photography, my family and religion.


What are your thoughts on blogging today in an ever-changing book-ish world? Are blogs helping other readers connect with good books?

I definitely find myself feeding my book-obsession more because of blogging. Reading book reviews on my favorite blogs regularly (too regularly, I confess) inspires me to buy the book. The book buzz from other bloggers is a huge influence on my reading choices.


When you are not blogging (or reading!)- what do you like to do?

I love spending time with my family. My husband is my best friend and we enjoy hiking, watching foreign films and Justified together, discussing politics and current events. Someday we will travel together again. My kids are awesome and keep us running constantly with their activities. I come from a large family (I’m the oldest of seven kids) and we always have a hysterical time when we get together.

I’m also an amatuer photographer. I love taking pictures of families and children.


Do you have any #literaryconfessions?  

I hate poetry. My husband thinks I’m crazy, since I was an English major in college, but I really do hate poetry. I’m often tempted to skip a poem when it’s in a novel.

Also, I don’t love Jane Austen novels. I’ve read them but I find them pretty blah. And I would rather die than watch the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. Sorry Colin.


Do you have a #literarycrush?  

This is a really hard question. It takes quite the man to impress me. I like Edmond Dante from The Count of Monte Cristo. The male characters in The Firebird and Love Water Memory are quite nice. I kind of had thing for Henry from The Time Traveler’s Wife.

For a few years, I read primarily biographies and I fell in love with John Adams (I know!) and Teddy Roosevelt.


What books are you looking forward to reading in 2013?

In July, I bought  And The Mountains Echoed. I loved Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns and I’m really looking forward to his latest. I’d also like to get my hands on the new novels coming out from Jamie Ford and Diane Setterfield this fall.


In your opinion, what book has been the best book you have read (so far!) in 2013?

I loved A Land More KindThan Home by Wiley Cash. It came out last year but I didn’t get to read it until this year. I could gush about it for hours and I forced my husband (who really has no time to read fiction) to read it so that we could discuss it.

Life after Life by Jill McCorkle didn’t get as much attention as Kate Atkinson’s novel of the same title, but it really made an impression on me. I also loved A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea, The Aviator’s Wife, and Benediction. I finally read Night Circus and was blown away.


You have a beach vacation planned. What are the 3 books that you must bring?

Looking at my to-read shelf, if I was leaving today on vacation,  I would grab Gone Girl, Overseas and A Light Between Oceans.


Are you an e-book or tree book lover? Or does it not matter?

I have a Kindle Fire. I can’t find it right now. I think my daughter took it with her to visit her grandparents. But it doesn’t matter because I can’t stand reading books on it. I feel bad for the books I’ve tried to review by reading an e-book because I’m sure my opinion is tainted.

I love the feel of a real book–paperback or hardback. I sometimes find myself caressing the spine while I read. (I do hate creases in the spine and perhaps subconsciously I think a little gentle massage will help prevent wrinkles.) I love the smell. I love the look of the book on my shelves. I like to loan my books out to my neighbors or put a favorite into the hands of my child.


Cindi- you are a member of She Reads. To you, what does that mean for women readers? Does She Reads give them a voice in this book world? A place to go and say “These are the kinds of books I want to read?” Has She Reads also broadened your reading taste?

I’ve been hosting a neighborhood book club at my house for over five years. I really try to encourage the women in my neighborhood to read great books and I’ve been able to read and enjoy books that I might not have picked for myself.  Just like every book club, we read the book, discuss it and support each other in our lives. We sometimes end up visiting with each other into the wee hours of the morning. I think She Reads does the same thing in a larger online setting. We support women authors and the books that resonate and have meaning for women. I’ve only been a member for a few months but I’ve really enjoyed the association I’ve had with the other members and being exposed to a variety of  books. I think She Reads is a great place for women.


What is your favorite line/quote from a book?

This is a tricky question. I honestly can’t think of a favorite quote from a book other than the scriptures, which I love and try to read daily. Our family’s mantra comes from scripture. We repeat it together each evening.

“Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house oforder, a house of God;” D&C 108:8


Do you judge a book by it’s cover?

If I am browsing in a bookstore, I totally judge a book by it’s cover. I’m so visual. I can guarantee I won’t pick up a book if there is a half naked couple kissing on the cover. Make it a picture of a couple embracing, dressed in World War II era clothing and I am definitely going to pick it up.

Most of the time, I buy a book after reading a review or hearing buzz about it online. In those cases, I don’t care what the cover looks like.

Liked my interview with Cindi @ Utah Mom’s Life? Visit her blog, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter pages!

Bloggers Made Of AWESOME: Laura @ A Novel Review

Another installment of Bloggers Made Of AWESOME! This time it’s Laura @ A Novel Review. I discovered Laura through Twitter, we liked many of the same books- so I always kept an eye open to see what she was tweeting or blogging about. We are also both members of She Reads. Laura’s blog is interesting, cute (it recently went through a remodel- and I really like the new look!) Plus, she’s involved in many book-ish things. Add her blog to blogs you must read!


Bloggers Made Of AWESOME: Laura @ A Novel Review

Laura- when did you begin blogging?

I started blogging in March of 2011, wow I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for over two years! It goes so fast!


How did you come up with the name A Novel Review?

Well, I sat down with a notepad and started with a list of possible names for my blog. A Novel Review wasn’t really one that I thought was great, lol but there were so many blogs with similar names I was looking at. I also wanted to make sure I could add other bloggers down the road if it ever grew (and it has!). The name pretty much tells you what the blog is about—simple and straight forward.

On a side note, I did find out after the fact there is another blog called A Novel Review, but the blogger no longer blogs.


What are your thoughts on blogging today in an ever-changing book-ish world? Are blogs helping other readers connect with good books?

I believe bloggers are becoming more and more important to the book-ish world. I know I check other bloggers to see what they say about a book before I buy a book. Personally, I’ve never read newspaper reviews. But bloggers are just a click away, blogger reviews are at my fingertips when I’m looking to buy on my nook—right there and I can read what they are saying about the book.

When you are not blogging (or reading!)- what do you like to do?

Well I’m a busy mom. I have four kids (three still at home) ranging from a junior in high school, a first grader and a little one in pre-k. So besides reading and blogging, that keeps me really busy. I also volunteer at our church working with kids, I love to crochet and make hair bows for my youngest daughter, and I write. I have a novel I’m working on, a short story and I try to write for Yahoo Contributor now and then (gotta build those writing chops).


Do you have any #literaryconfessions?  

I’m a book hoarder. I have a serious…let’s call it an issue. I can’t read nearly as fast as I need to in order to read all the books I get in a month. I try not to take on too many reviews, but if there is a book I think will be amazing I try really hard to win a copy. I have an entire shelf of books I really want to read, but no idea when I would actually be able to read them. We won’t even discuss the books I purchase.

Do you have a #literarycrush? 

Oh goodness…tell me you didn’t ask this! Ok this is a throwback, but Ponyboy Curtis from THE OUTSIDERS by S.E. Hinton! I will never forget the book, or the movie. I loved both. I loved how the greasers were this rough group of bad boys, but Ponyboy was golden. He seemed so perfect to me. I’ll be honest and say I could never get how Cherrie preferred a Soc or even Dallas. Ponyboy just seemed like enough bad boy, but still had a soft side.

What books are you looking forward to reading in 2013? So many!

My tops are MORNING GLORY by Sarah Jio, THE GHOST BRIDE by Yangsze Choo, THE BUTTERFLY SISTER by Amy Gail Hansen, and THE FIRST PHONE CALL FROM HEAVEN by Mitch Albom. I’m still trying to get my hands on some of these!


In your opinion, what book has been the best book you have read (so far!) in 2013?

This is a really hard question. I’ve read a multitude of truly amazing books this year, but I would say the best of the best this year has been SEDUCTION: A NOVEL OF SUSPENSE by M.J. Rose.  It is a stunning novel.

You have a beach vacation planned. What are the 3 books that you must bring?

Honestly, whatever books are next in my review pile. Let me be honest, I get very little reading done on the beach with two young children!


Are you an e-book or tree book lover? Or does it not matter?

I’m a tree book lover, I just love the feel of a real book. Silly, but I love the sound of ‘breaking the spine’ of a new book and oh the sweetness of a book with deckled edges! I enjoy seeing how far I have to read—sometimes I also dread this when coming faster than I want and I like seeing how much I’ve read.

I don’t mind e-readers, I can see the space saving appeal and always having an extra book with you.

You are a member of She Reads- an organization that helps women find great books. What is the experience like- helping authors get the word out about books and connecting women with great books?

Oh love being a part of She Reads! It is run by some really lovely ladies and I love helping to share about fabulous books! I love the community of readers being brought together. When I began blogging/reviewing I did it with the desire to expand the genres I read and the authors I read. With She Reads I have been introduced to a number of great authors and had the pleasure to get to know them a bit more. I can’t wait to have more time to be even more involved in the group.


In your opinion, what do you think is more important- a good opening line or an ending that leaves you wanting to discuss the book with everyone?

Hmmm, I think for me it’s the ending. I don’t expect a book to draw me in the first line, but a great book leaves me wanting more.

If you could go on a literary road trip- where would you go?

Well, I used to want to go down to New Orleans after reading a few books set there. I’m thrilled I was able to go. I loved seeing the entire area, it was very cool. I also always wanted to go to the East Coast to experience the Ocean, beaches, light houses and Cape Cod homes with weathered siding. So I was over the moon when we moved to New Port, RI. I would say now a trip to England would be my choice of literary road trip. To not only get a sense of England today, but to get to tour real castles! See some of their beautiful English Gardens!


Find more out about Laura @ A Novel Review- follow her blog, or visit her Facebook or Twitter!


Bloggers Made Of AWESOME: Katherine @ Story Matters

Katherine is a fellow She Reads member- but her blog’s name is what caught my attention: Story Matters. I thought it sounded like a blog that has heart and maybe a deep thought or so for whenever I need a little pick me up. I’m never disappointed when I read Katherine’s blog!


Bloggers Made Of AWESOME: Katherine @ Story Matters

Katherine- when did you begin blogging?

I came to blogging very reluctantly a little over a year ago. As an aspiring novelist, I knew that I needed some kind of web presence in order to be considered by publishers, but keeping up with the endless demands of social media struck me as an irksome distraction. I have two children in elementary school, and my writing time is limited more or less to the hours they are in school. I was loath to pull any of that precious time away from my novel and put it into something that I questioned the value of.

So I put it off until I signed with my agent in February 2012. One of the first assignments she gave me was to start building my web presence. So, hoo boy, I knew I could avoid it no longer. Fortunately for me, I knew a fantastic social media guru—Laura Christianson of—whom I’d met at a writer’s conference. I consulted her, and she helped me create a website that incorporates my interests in both writing and reading—which soon led to blogging about books.

How did you come up with the name Story Matters?

I have long been fascinated by the phenomenon of *story*–how every culture has a storytelling tradition in one form or another. The way *story* is used to guide and teach and encourage. The way *story* can circumvent reason to creep through the back door of our hearts to inform our minds and affect our behavior. *Story* is a most powerful tool!

I chose Story Matters as the name for my blog because of this, and because I appreciate the double entendre. My blog is a forum to discuss all things story-related. It’s also an acknowledgement that our stories—yours, mine, his, hers…regardless of how apparently ordinary or inconsequential—really do matter in the grand scheme of life.

What are your thoughts on blogging today in an ever-changing book-ish world? Are blogs helping other readers connect with good books?

I see blogs playing an increasing role in the book world. More and more readers are turning to book review blogs for information about what’s good, what’s not. And I appreciate the dialogue this opens up among readers and writers.

When you are not blogging (or reading!)- what do you like to do?

I love spending time with my husband of 23 years and our son (12) and daughter (9)—going on hikes, playing Bananagrams, watching my son play ice hockey and my daughter dance ballet, traveling (most recently to Scandinavia), just hanging out.  I’m also an aspiring novelist, so most of my work hours (i.e., the hours my kiddos are in school) are spent on my WIP (work in progress). I volunteer quite a bit of my time at our school and church as well. And I do love to read, so if I’m not doing any of the above, I most likely have my nose in a book.

Do you have any #literaryconfessions? 

I suppose I’d have to confess that I’m just not that into the classics anymore. I’ve enjoyed them at points in my life, but these days, I’d much rather immerse myself in a great contemporary novel by a fresh new voice. And I don’t get most poetry. I think it’s because I’m too impatient a reader, and with poetry, you have to be willing to invest time and ponder awhile.

Do you have a #literarycrush? 

These days, my husband is all the crush I need. J But years and years ago, I remember crushing on Trixie Belden’s boyfriend, Jim Frayne. And as an addendum to #literaryconfessions, I occasionally indulge in a re-read of one of my old Trixie Belden mysteries (I still have the entire series). I find the nostalgia trip very soothing.

What books are you looking forward to reading in 2013?

Oh, there’s such a thick pile of books I can’t wait to read. Sometimes I despair at getting to them all, and yet the knowledge that they await fills me with delicious anticipation. It creates an interesting tension. Anyway, included in that pile (and not all of them new releases) are:

The Underside of Joy by Sere Prince Halverson

My New Orleans, Gone Away by Peter M. Wolf

North of Hope by Shannon Huffman Polson

The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood

gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson

The Girls by Lori Lansens

Rescue by Anita Shreve

In your opinion, what book has been the best book you have read (so far!) in 2013?

I’ve been touting Jolina Petersheim’s The Outcast as my most recent fave. I was stunned by this debut novelist’s skillful storytelling. I also loved Heather Kopp’s intensely authentic recovery memoir, Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up With a Christian Drunk, and Julie Kibler’s beautiful debut, Calling Me Home.

You have a beach vacation planned. What are the 3 books that you must bring?

Sweet Salt Air by Barbara Delinsky. Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter. Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand.

Are you an e-book or tree book lover? Or does it not matter?

I do love a real book, and I thank trees for their noble sacrifice. I relish the very feel of a book in my hand, its solid weight, its texture, the smell of its pages. And a lovely cover design fills me with singular joy. While I appreciate the advent of e-readers and the flexibility they offer, I will never outgrow my desire for the real deal.

Katherine- you are a member of She Reads. To you, what does that mean for women readers? Does She Reads give them a voice in this book world? A place to go and say “These are the kinds of books I want to read?”

Love She Reads! So appreciate what they are doing for women’s fiction—for both women who write it and those who read it. Book by book, as they recognize and promote quality women’s fiction, She Reads is becoming an increasingly powerful voice in the industry. I count it a distinct privilege to be a blogging member of their organization.

What is your favorite line/quote from a book?

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” From The Help by Kathryn Stockett


Liked my interview with Katherine @ Story Matters? Follow her blog or Twitter!


Bloggers Made of AWESOME: Jen H @ The Relentless Reader

Jen @ The Relentless Reader- I have Allison @ The Book Wheel and Rebecca @ Love At First Book to thank for introducing me to Jen H.  Why is Jen @ The Relentless Reader AWESOME? She recommends good books, she’s funny on Twitter and she’s all about trying to make the blogger experience better for others (ex: she’s totally not a fan of CAPTCHA and presents good reasons why!)

Bloggers Made of AWESOME: Jen H @ The Relentless Reader

Jennifer- when did you begin blogging?

June 28, 2012. I recently celebrated my one year blogoversary!

How did you come up with the name The Relentless Reader? 

I considered SO many names (Wisconsin Word Nerd, etc.). I asked friends and family for advice and posted a HELP ME PICK A BLOG NAME status on my personal Facebook page. But now I can’t remember where in the world the name came from. It definitely fits my personality though.

What are your thoughts on blogging today in an ever-changing book-ish world? Are blogs helping other readers connect with good books? 

I certainly hope we are! I love helping people find a great book, it’s one of the reasons that I love to blog. I know that other bloggers help me find fab books to read. Thanks to them my tbr pile is ridiculous!

When you are not blogging (or reading!)- what do you like to do? 

I love spending time with my kids. They are 21, 15, & 13. Their favorite thing is avoiding their nerdy mother. So, the whole hanging out thing doesn’t happen often 😉

Also, I like to find a series on Netflix and watch it obsessively for 3 days in a row.

Do you have a #literarycrush?

Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. SWOON!

In your opinion, what book has been the best book you have read (so far!) in 2013? 

Oh man, this is so hard to answer. 2013 has been packed with great books so far! One fiction that has stuck in my mind is A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra. Is it my favorite of the year? Perhaps! I’ve also read some incredible nonfiction including The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

You have a beach vacation planned. What are the 3 books that you must bring?

My summer reading doesn’t look much different from any other season. But if I HAD to pick just a few favorites they would be:

To Kill a Mockingbird (Have I mentioned how swoon-worthy Atticus is?)

The Catcher in the Rye (Yes, I love me some whiny teenage Holden)

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

(This list is subject to change on a daily basis)

Are you an e-book or tree book lover? Or does it not matter? 

I think I’ll always like tree books better. With that said, I’m glad that I have a Kindle. I held out on buying one  for a long time with some misguided idea of SAVING REAL BOOKS.

How do you find other blogs to read? Recommendations of other bloggers? 

When I first started blogging I had a heck of a time finding bloggers with the same reading tastes and sensibilities as mine. I thought for sure that YA book blogs were the only ones that existed! They aren’t my thing. (No hate mail, please!) I finally found a few that I loved and then stalked their blogrolls like a crazy lady. Since then I’ve found the best blogs in the land. I don’t want to name favorites though, that’s like naming my favorite child! BAD IDEA.

Jen H @ The Relentless Reader: Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.

Author Spotlight: Ashton Lee

the cherry cola bk clubAshton Lee stopped by for an interview- and today he is back for an Author Spotlight! Read on to see who are some of Ashton’s favorite authors- and his #literaryconfession!


Author Spotlight: Ashton Lee

Ashton- who are some of your favorite authors?

Harper Lee, Carson McCullers, Truman Capote, Ayn Rand, Michael Crichton, Michael Morris, Patrick Dennis, Agatha Christie, Ellen Gilchrist, Ellen Douglas, Ronlyn Domingue.


What book (or books!) will you always make room for on your shelf? 

(See the works of the above.)


Do you have any #literaryconfessions?     

There are some classics I couldn’t stand.  For instance, I absolutely despised the concept behind “The Scarlet Letter.”   The entire persecution angle rubbed me the wrong way, even if it is reflective of that culture.  There is so much persecution of all sorts of people in today’s world in so many cultures.  I just wanted to punch Nathaniel Hawthorne for going to all that trouble!  (Of course, I’d  like to think that was his intention—to reveal such persecution as intolerable.  But the novel still bothers me!)


Do you have a #literarycrush?

I can’t honestly say I do.  I just like literary universes and the way they feel to me as I’m reading.



*Special thanks goes to Ashton Lee for taking time for this Author Spotlight.


If you’ve enjoyed reading Traveling With T’s Interview with Ashton Lee and the Author Spotlight, do check out Ashton’s Facebook page.





Author Spotlight: Stephanie Evanovich

big girl panties

In a previous post, I blogged about meeting Stephanie Evanovich. Talking to her was so nice and she was so interesting- my notebook was filled with things to blog about- so I decided to make this a two-part post!


Author Spotlight: Stephanie Evanovich:

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Susan Elizabeth Phillips, S.E.Hinton, Catherine Coulter, Anthony Robbins and Jill Shalvis.


What’s going in your beach bag to read on vacation?

It Had To Be You by Jill Shalvis and Ladies Night by Mary Kay Andrews.


What is the best book of 2013 that you’ve read so far?

Stephanie alerted me to the fact that between edits of Big Girl Panties and touring- that she really has not read much this year. However, she did read the 50 Shades of Grey series- and said she liked it. As Stephanie said to me in the book store” 50 Shades of Grey wasn’t War and Peace– but she was entertained.” She also read Breathing Room by Susan Elizabeth Phillips and liked that as well.


How long did it take to write Big Girl Panties?

Three years- but not every day writing. About 9 months of working hard on Big Girl Panties.


What is your writing routine?

I write best from 5am-9am- and I do not write in coffeehouses. I have to have my own space to write!


While writing, did you have a soundtrack in mind for the book? Or to set certain scenes?

The whole time I was writing this book, I listened to Lifehouse’s album Who We Are. The songs that set the scene for Logan and Holly are songs 7,8,9. Song 7 is Easier to Be, Song 8 is Make Me Over, and song 9 is Mesmerized.


Do you have a #literarycrush?

Bobby Tom Denton in Heaven Fall.


Do you have a #literaryconfession?

When I was teen, I discovered S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. After reading and loving the book, I used to pretend that S.E. stood for Stephanie Elizabeth (which is my name!)


*Special thanks to Stephanie Evanovich for answering these questions and revealing her #literarycrush and #literaryconfessions!








Bloggers made of AWESOME: Allison @ The Book Wheel

Today, I have Allison @ The Book Wheel as my featured Bloggers made of AWESOME. Why do I like Allison’s blog? She features books that I may not know much about and  her posts are always informative!

After reading the interview, I hope you’ll find Allison @ The Book Wheel as interesting as I do!

Interview with Allison @ The Book Wheel

Allison- when did you begin blogging?

I started blogging on and off in January 2011, but I didn’t start book blogging until July of 2012.

How did you come up with the name The Book Wheel?

I named my blog The Book Wheel for so many reasons! Wheels never end and revolve. My love for books is constant, never ending and my entire world revolves around books. Or, you could say that books make the world go ’round. Or, that books make my world go ’round. Or, that the wheel of invention is dependent on books. Or, that books propel us forward. Or, that knowledge depends on a never ending supply of information. Or, that books provide never-ending knowledge. Or, that the supply of books is never ending. Like I said, there are a lot of reasons!

What are your thoughts on blogging today in an ever-changing book-ish world? Are blogs helping other readers connect with good books?

Yes and no. I know that this is probably not the reality of it, but I seem to only meet readers or non-readers. I rarely meet anyone who enjoys reading sometimes. So for those who read regularly, I think that book blogs are a tremendous help in finding the next best thing because the reader is getting advice from an unpaid source (we assume). I don’t know that blogs are very instrumental in helping the sometimes reader, though, because they probably don’t spend much time online researching books and/or reading reviews.

When you are not blogging (or reading!)- what do you like to do?

There are things other than blogging and reading?! Let’s see. I work full-time, have a literary and digital consulting company, and am starting my Master of Public Policy program in the Fall, so reading and blogging may be my only hobbies pretty soon. But, I’m also married to an incredible man and we have two fantastic dogs. We are big fans of hopping in the SUV and heading out on mini road trips. We recently moved to Colorado and love driving into the mountains at random to see where we end up. Most recently, we trekked it 7 hours to the Badlands to watch the sun rise, which was pretty amazing. Oh, and I watch an abnormal amount of Law & Order and L&O SVU. Some may call it an addiction.

Do you have any #literaryconfessions? 

I may or may not have read a few Jackie Collins books in my day. I also may or may not have a signed photo of her.

Do you have a #literarycrush? 

I know this is cliché, but I love Mr. Darcy. I think this is because I adore Colin Firth and they are one in the same for me. I also recently read A Room With a View so George Is on the list now, too!

What books are you looking forward to reading in 2013?

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg and The Know-It-All by AJ Jacobs.

In your opinion, what book has been the best book you have read (so far!) in 2013?

Oh! This is such a hard question because I have read so many fantastic books. I’m going to cheat and pick one fiction and one based on a true story! My fiction is Book of Secrets by Elizabeth Joy Arnold and the other is The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell by William Klaber.

You have a beach vacation planned. What are the 3 books that you must bring?

Whatever I have on my list! The only book that I must have is Where the Red Fern Grows and I read it every summer, so I suppose that I’d bring that one. But when it comes to vacations, I’m an equal opportunist.

Are you an e-book or tree book lover? Or does it not matter?

There was a time when I was torn to pieces over getting a Kindle, but then I had surgery and was bedridden for weeks on end and the Kindle saved me from absolute boredom! Now I’m a big fan of the e-reader and have a Kindle and an iPad mini. I still buy paper books when it’s an author that I love, a limited edition, or if I’m attending the signing (I don’t understand ‘e-book signings’), but I love my e-readers.

*If you want to know more about Allison @ The Book Wheel– check out her blog! And join me in congratulating Allison- last Wednesday, July 24, was her 1 year anniversary as a blogger! Also- looks like the NYT got the memo about how AWESOME Allison @ The Book Wheel is before I could post this! Check out her FANTASTIC NYT news here!

Allison can also be found on Facebook and Twitter!

Author Spotlight: Amy Shearn

the mermaid of brooklynMonday, Amy Shearn was at Traveling With T for an interview- today it’s all about the Author Spotlight and #literaryconfessions, #literarycrush and more!

Warning: Do not drink anything while reading this- Amy’s quite funny- and she has a way with words!


Author Spotlight: Amy Shearn

What are some of your favorite books, Amy?

Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway is the novel I’m always going back to. I just started rereading it for the millionth time. To me it’s the perfect novel – it’s beautiful, funny, sad, complicated, simple. It’s about one day in the life of one woman but it’s also about everything. It’s essentially Ulysses, but without being an asshole.

If you could choose to be a character in a book- who would you choose?

What a great question! Maybe the title character of Virginia Woolf’s (much-stranger-than-Mrs-Dalloway) novel Orlando? Orlando gets to be both a man and a woman and live for 400 years and have all sorts of adventures, which seems pretty rad to me. Though upon consideration I’m not sure I’d actually like to be a man (no offense to men).

If you were not an author, what would you like to be?

Recently I’ve been having some hot-and-heavy fantasies about working in a bookstore. I know it’s not all just reading, talking to people about books, and petting the bookstore cat, but in my fantasy it is. 

Do you have any #literaryconfessions? 

 You know, I was just thinking about how I’ve never read Philip Roth! How has this happened? I think I might get my Author Card revoked for admitting that. I also don’t really read magazines, despite writing for them. I don’t dislike them, I just always end up with a book instead.

Do you have a #literarycrush?

I completely have the hots for Mr. Darcy, who’s such a brooding grouch. It’s so annoying. (Mr. Darcy, my crush, all of it.)

What is your favorite song?

It’s overplayed in every coffee shop in New York City but I still get happy when I hear Neutral Milk Hotel’s “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.” I love the strange lyrics, and the way it reminds me of a very happy, creatively alive time in my life and the beginning of my relationship with my husband. It’s about dying, a little. It’s also the most romantic of all love songs! I swear.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

Oh, too much social media, like everyone else. I have to severely limit my Pinterest time or every evening of my life would disappear in an ether of lovely kitchens, glamour shots of typewriters, and nicely-laid-out quotations about being brave.


*Special thanks to Amy Shearn for this Author Spotlight!


Amy Shearn can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and has a website. If you’ve enjoyed the Author Spotlight, grab a copy of The Mermaid of Brooklyn!


Author Spotlight: Wendy Francis

three good thingsToday, Wendy is back to reveal her #literaryconfessions and more!


Author Spotlight with Wendy Francis

Wendy, when you are not writing, what do you like to do with your time?

Most days, I’m doing something with my five-year-old son, whether it’s playing street hockey, baseball in the front yard, or drawing pictures of animals (I always forget the neck for some reason).  He’s an active little guy and keeps me busy. Like any writer, I also love to read, then read some more.  Reading is still the great escape for me that it was when I first discovered new worlds in Harriet the Spy or The Island of the Blue Dolphins. I also like running, aka jogging. I used to run a fair bit but then stopped because of a knee injury. Recently, though, I’ve been trying to get back into it and hope that soon three miles won’t feel like twenty.

Could you tell us who some of your favorite authors are?

There are so many! I’ll read anything by Elizabeth Strout and Kent Haruf. They’re both masters at creating a sense of place and unforgettable characters. For sheer literary heft, no one can pack a wallop in a sentence like Pat Conroy does.  But I also love fiction that features strong female characters, often with a sense of humor. For that, I turn to Elinor Lipman, Jennifer Weiner, Elin Hilderbrand, Nancy Thayer, and Emily Giffin. I guess you could say my literary tastes are all over the map, but that’s how I like it. I’ve just started J. Courtney Sullivan’s The Engagements, and I’m enthralled.

Do you have any #literary confessions?

Well, I’ve never read War and Peace, and I’ve read only parts of Anna Karenina. I always figured I’d pick up Tolstoy later in life when I was smarter.

Do you have a #literarycrush?

I’ve pretty much been in love with Nick from The Great Gatsby (not the movie Nick) since first reading the book in high school. He’s smart, decent, hails from the Midwest, but also has a certain vulnerability that appeals to my protective side. And I was completely charmed by those unassuming McPheron brothers in Kent Haruf’s Plainsong. They strike me as the type of men who would appreciate someone’s inviting them over for a proper dinner. As for real life literary crushes, I always thought I’d enjoy sharing a stiff Southern drink with Pat Conroy. His memoir, My Reading Life, is one of my favorites.

What are some of the books you look forward to reading in 2013?

My reading pile is high! Elin Hilderbrand’s new novel, Beautiful Day, is just out, so that will be in my beach bag. I’m also looking forward to Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger.  Others on my list: Karen White’s The Time Between and Nancy Thayer’s Island Girls.  And I’ve yet to read The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach: I’m told it’s not really about baseball, and I’m looking forward to it.

If you could be best friends with a character in a book, who would you pick? And why?

I really loved Hildy in Ann Leary’s The Good House, even if Hildy has a drinking problem she won’t admit to. Hildy is well-steeped in her New England town’s history and has a fabulous sense of humor matched by her compassion for her friends and family. I’ve no doubt that it would be a hoot to be her friend.

What is your idea of a perfect day?

A perfect day is one spent relaxing with my family, preferably somewhere near a beach.  It would include swimming, goofing around with my son and step-kids, and reading.  Ideally, it would also be topped off by a glass of wine and a late-night dinner with my husband. Nothing too out of the ordinary but spectacular nonetheless.


*Special thanks to Wendy Francis for agreeing to this Author Spotlight and revealing her #literaryconfessions and #literarycrush.


For more information on Wendy, check out my Interview with Wendy Francis, or Wendy’s website.  To read my review of Three Good Things, click HERE.