Armchair BEA Winner

Last week during Armchair BEA you might remember that I was giving away an ARC copy of Wickedly Charming by Kristine Grayson and some other goodies as well. (This will be a surprise to the winner)

Anyways today is the day to announce the winner. Thanks to those that entered and by a random drawing the winner is:

Chrystal @ Snowdrop Dreams Of Books

I already have Chrystal’s mailing address and hopefully if all goes well and there is no Canada Post strike I will get the book out in Thursday’s mail. If there is a strike I will try another way to get the book to the winner.

Congrats again Chrystal.

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

Blogging about Blogging

Is it really Friday already? Where did the week go?

Sadly this is the last day for Armchair BEA themed posts. I hope everyone had fun at BEA and those of us who weren’t able to attend BEA had fun with Armchair BEA.

This was my first year taking part in Armchair BEA and I have to say that I had an absolute blast. The organizers of it did a fantastic job with putting this together.

It was an awesome week, I had so much fun visiting new bloggers and their blogs. Thanks to those bloggers that stopped by my blog I truly appreciate it and looking forward to talking more with you.

Today is the day of the Book Blogger Convention, so in conjunction with that event Armchair BEA will also put the focus on the “blog” portion of “book blog.”

I have been sitting here for a little while now wondering what I was going to write about and it seemed like what I wanted to say has been said already. Its like 20+ bloggers all reading and reviewing the same book on the same day, it can get old really fast, right? So I figured I would use the suggested topics and write on them.

How do you utilize social networking in relation to your blog? What may be the pros and cons of doing so?

I never really used social networking to promote my blog before but since getting a new blog look recently I decided that I was going to link my twitter account to my blog. Since doing that I have noticed that I get a few more visitors to my blog then I might not have gotten before.

My next goal is to some how link my facebook to my blog. Does anyone know how to do that?

I guess with anything there is always pros and cons with things right? I guess you just have to be careful of what you say and put out there. You always have to remain polite and professional. Whatever you say online is out there and there is no way to get it back. Just remember what comes around goes around!

Share some of your favorite blogging technical tips.

This is so not the question for me because I am not technical at all. Whenever I do something to my blog I cringe because I am afraid with the click of wrong button my blog will be gone. Am I the only one like this?

Although I can say that when I blog I take advantage of scheduling posts. It can be either a IMM post, On my wishlist, Its Monday what are your reading, or any other related kind of posts. I also have some back up posts ready for a just in case kind of day.

Create a “rule list” of things you should and shouldn’t be doing on a book blog.

Our blogs are are own and we have no control over what other bloggers do on their blogs.

Personally for me I have some things that I won’t do on my blog ever.

~Posting reviews in advance of pub date. If I am told in advance not to post my review of a book before the pub date, I respect what the rep has told me and won’t do it. Yes I know that its good for the book and author but really for me if I go to someones blog and they are posting a book that isn’t out for months its ticks me off. I am the kind of person that if they like the book I want to get my hands on it now.
~Trashing a book/author. I have seen this done way to many times and I think its just terrible. If you don’t like the book there must be something good about it that you can highlight. I don’t think in my whole blogging time I have ever written a trashy review of a book and the same goes for an author.
~Don’t bite more then you can chew.This is something I learned the hard way when i was early in my blogging accepting more then I could ever possibly read in a year. Now I read what I want and I am more selective in books. Its okay when you get an email to say no to a book. No one will hate you if you do.

Things you should do:
~Watching what to say and put out there. Jest remember once its out there its out there and theres no way its going to come back.
~Be polite and professional. It only takes one person to screw it up for everyone is what I was always told. This is true, sadly your not only representing yourself but the whole book blogging community as well.
~Be yourself. Why be someone your not? Just be you and do what you want to do on your blog. Don’t change to please people.
~Time off.I do this constantly. When you find blogging is becoming a chore take a break because if you don’t you will find out that its not as fun as it was. I have now taken Sundays off from blogging and at times there won’t be a Sunday post and you know what I am fine with that.

What are your tips for balance life and blogging?

I am sure I am not alone in this when you try to balance a busy life with blogging. Its hard and I agree. I am constantly struggling with this. Thankfully I am lucky to be able to stay home so during the day I tend to get my blog posts up for the day and then I do the regular house hold stuff and at night I will do my other online stuff.

I think we just have to remember that its our blogs and we do it because we like it. Its not a full time job. So even if you only blog once a week that is fine don’t worry about it. No one is judging when and how often you blog.

What genre do you blog about and why?

I am all over the place in the genres I blog about because I love books and I love to read. I know some bloggers have a niche and I am all for that but I have always been the kind of reader that if the book sounds good I will read it no matter what it is.

I think you should read what you want and not let someone tell you otherwise.

How do you keep your blog fresh and interesting to your readers & yourself?

This is something I struggle with because there are so many bloggers out there doing so many things that just when you think you have a fantastic idea some has already thought about it and is doing it.

I know I try to mix up the blog and when I get a book to review I always ask if the author is available for a Q&A or guest post. I will also add some personal touches to post for example if I am reviewing a book and I have met the author I will throw in a pic I had taken or a little story.

There are quite a few book blogging events out there. Which are your favorites and why? How do they affect your blog directly?

One of my favorite book blogging events is Bloggiesta that Natasha from Maw Books host twice a year. Its a great way to get caught up on your blog and do the things you have been saying you want to do but never do.

Be sure to check out Armchair BEA to see what other bloggers thought about this topic.

What do you think?

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

(ArmchairBEA) Relationships

Today’s suggested topic on Armchair BEA is all about RELATIONSHIPS.

As we build our blogs, people comment on our posts, drop us emails, contact us on Twitter, etc. Sometimes those brief connections grow into relationships.

It was funny yesterday on twitter I had a brief conversation with Serena who blogs over at Savvy Verse & Wit and Julie who blogs over at My 5 Monkeys about Oprah’s last show and what would people do without her book recommendations.

I admit I have read some of Oprah’s book club selections, but not a whole lot because they just weren’t for me. Before knowing anything about blogs I use to get all my recommendations from the newspaper, magazines, friends, the library and tv shows and then in 2008 I discovered blogs and blogging.

Little did I know that back in August of 2008 that I would have formed some amazing friendships with people from all over the world because of my blog and our love of books and reading.

Before I started this post I went back to check the blog from the beginning and I can remember my very first comment on my blog, it was from author Michael Tonello about my review for his book Bringing home the Birkin and I was in an absolute shock because not only was it my first comment but it was also by an author. Even to this very day I still get all fan girlish and giddy when an author will take the time to comment on my review.

Still in shock from that I was surprised when other bloggers would stop by and comment and some of my first blogger comments were from Alea @ Pop Culture Junkie, Kathy @ Bermudaonion, and so many others.

Knowing that other people are reading your blog is truly amazing and from all over the world. I always check who comes to my blog and to see someone reading it from not only your country but places like France, Australia, United States (which is currently my visited from), the UK, Germany, India, Netherlands, and so many other places is truly unbelievable in my opinion.

So, in order to be a successful blogger in my opinion you have to maintain a relationship with all your readers no matter if they are a first time commenter or a regular commenter and that can be though emailing the person, visiting their blog or leaving comment replies in your own post. Although I have found that leaving replies in my post isn’t always effective. Leaving comments on other people’s blog is something that I try to maintain and honestly it can be hard at times. I am truly amazed at the bloggers who can maintain this on a daily bases, hats off to you.

Through blogging I have met some truly amazing people not only online but in real life too. The first bloggers I ever met were Tina (Bookshipper), Avis (She Reads and Reads) and Donna (Books Bound)as they are all local bloggers.

From there I got to meet some other local bloggers Linda, Amanda and Laura.

Last year I was able to attend BEA and was super excited because not only would I get to meet some authors that I truly adored but the chance to meet with some of the reps I have worked with and the bloggers who I have spoken with online. I was more nervous meeting with the bloggers I knew from online then anyone else. The very first blogger who welcomed me with open arms and a hug was Kathy from Bermudaonion. I just have to say that the Kathy that is online is just like the Kathy in real life.

From that event I got to meet so many other bloggers that I probably would never have met in real life because of location and they will remain friends for life. You know who you are.

Now that I have spoken about blogger friendships (the key is to comment on other bloggers blogs), I am going to speak about publisher relationships and this won’t happen over night, you have to work on building this up. For me one of the places I started on was Book Blogs Ning because there are quite a few publishers on there. I signed up for a few book tours and slowly got my foot in the door. It won’t be an easy road but if you work on it, it will be rewarding in the end.

With authors, gradually over time they will contact you about reviewing their books. You can reach out to authors (some of them love hearing from you) with review links of their books. If you are lucky some will even be accommodating and will do a guest post or interviews with you.

What I have learned over the almost three years of blogging is if an author or publicist contacts you about books and you really don’t like the book its okay to say no thanks but please keep me in mind for other books. Trust me they will keep you in mind. This is something I learned the hard way because I was always afraid of saying no and ruining a contact and this lead to obtaining more then what I could read. So now unless its something that I think I would read, I will accept it otherwise I send a nice reply back saying no thanks.

The only thing I can truly say about asking for books (finished copies or ARCs) is when you email please be polite and professional, its a privilege to be sent books its not a right. Just because your a blogger doesn’t give you the right to think that you are entitled to books. Always make sure you send the rep who sent you the book a link to your review. This way it shows the rep you read and reviewed the book and they will keep you in mind for future books and tours.

There will be times you will get a email that says Sorry, no I have no more ARCs left etc don’t take it personally.

Since I have rambled on long enough (sorry about that) I just want to say just remember to be polite and professional (with everyone you come across) because if you say or do something negative it will come back to bite you in the butt. Karma is a bitch that way. Also this is something I will be working on (more of), if someone comes to your blog and comments please take the minute or two and go and comment on their blog.

So the key point in building relationships is to keep in CONTACT with everyone. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, most bloggers are willing to help you out.

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

Armchair BEA heads up

As part of Armchair BEA week I was recently asked if I would be part of the international Book blogging interview. I was more then honored to be asked and just want to thank Armchair BEA for asking me to be a part of it.

You can read my responses and three other (new to me)bloggers here.

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

Blogger Interview with Carina from Reading Through Life

Today’s topic on Armchair BEA is all about networking and meeting new people.

Having went to BEA last year I was really excited to meet the bloggers that I have spoken with online, in real life. As well as the reps from publishing house that I worked with over the past year. Being able to put a face to the name was alot of fun and I have to say that I loved meeting them because for me what they were online was how they are in real life.

So today I am very honored to have been given the chance to interview a blogger. Not just any blogger but one who is Canadian and one that I just happened to have been following for a little while now.

Please help me welcome Carina who blogs over at Reading Through Life. Carina’s tag line on her blog is

A twenty-something teacher in Toronto reflecting on books, reading, and literacy.

Cindy: You are the host of a weekly feature called Reading Roots, can you tell us about it and why did you decide to do it?

Basically, my feature Reading Roots is where I get to ask other bloggers about their reading history and how they came to be so in love with the written word. I decided to start it about a year ago. I had been thinking that I wanted a regular feature of some kind, and I wanted it to be unique – and I also wanted to talk a bit more about reading habits and literacy development on my blog than I had been doing already. So when I ended up coming up with the idea for this series, it just turned out to be perfect! I really love learning about people’s early reading lives, and particularly about how it has shaped the way they think about reading promotion with their children (or children in general, if they don’t have any).

Cindy: Since discovering your blog, I love reading this feature and reading about other bloggers early reading days. I read a blog post about you moving away to work this summer in the UAE, what are you most excited about in your move to work in the United Arab Emirate this summer?

I think I’m most excited about the opportunity to really immerse myself in another culture, and in the opportunities for travel that I will have while I’m there. Living in Canada, it’s so much farther to travel to most places than it will be from the UAE – I’ve been to the US, and to a few countries in the Caribbean, but I’ve never crossed the ocean before! So I’m really looking forward to the opportunity for more travel once I’m living there, because so many countries will be so much closer (and I’ll have more expendable income to use to do that travelling). Plus, I think it will be absolutely great to live somewhere that’s so completely different from where I’ve lived the rest of my life. It will be an adventure!

Cindy: That sounds like it will be alot of fun working and being able to travel a little while you are there. You would think it would be easier to travel but I agree things are much further here in Canada. I have travelled to places in the US but like you never overseas. (As of yet, but one day.) In your opinion what are the pros and cons about being a Canadian book blogger?

There’s a bit of both, but it’s all in how you look at it. I think that the biggest “con” to being a Canadian book blogger is that you’re blocked out from so many things – lots of publishers (and even more bloggers) won’t ship to you, and you’re farther away from the big events like BEA. It’s also a much smaller blogging community, and more spread out, so it’s harder to meet up with people and forge offline friendships (though I have managed to meet a couple people anyways!). One of the big “pros” ties into that, though – because once you actually do get a chance to meet people, even if you don’t get to meet them offline, there’s sort of a closer bond with them right from the beginning, because you have this thing in common with them. Plus, there’s a tendency among a lot of Canadian book bloggers to read more Canadiana – including a really awesome challenge run over at The Book Mine Set – that I really enjoy. It gives me at least a few people who I can depend on to introduce me to new Canadian literature that I might not otherwise have heard of from the American (and international) book blogs that I follow.

Cindy: I agree. With anything there is always pros and cons. I have noticed that too that we are excluded from alot with the US publishers and bloggers not wanting to mail to us. Which I don’t know why since the US has access to media mail? I know I sometimes have to limit my giveaways (if I am mailing them out) because it gets expensive for me to ship since we don’t have media mail here. What are you currently reading?

I’m kind of reading a giant mishmash of things, which is fairly normal for me. Right now, I’m listening to the audio version of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”, while reading dead-tree versions of “Alias Grace”, “Footnotes in Gaza”, “Standing Alone: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam”, and “The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding From You”. Believe it or not, that’s actually a fairly trimmed down version of the book polyamory that I usually practice

Cindy: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are the five things you would want to have?

Books, diet Coke, my iPhone (with Internet and my stored music, of course), my partner Zaid (does he count?), and marshmallows to roast over a fire.

Cindy: Of course Zaid counts. What made you decide to start a blog? Is there a meaning behind your blog title?

I used to keep a personal blog on LiveJournal, but that had kind of petered out by the fall of 2009 and I think I was missing the outlet and the regular opportunity to write that it had given me. Plus, I had finally been reading more over the past year (after pretty much stopping most recreational reading when I was in university), and wanted somewhere for me to record my thoughts since I tend to forget about what I’ve read after a few years. I just wanted there to be a record of my reading, if nothing else, and a place for me to jot down my thoughts. It was an added bonus that I found a community of book bloggers at the same time to connect with! As for the blog title, I just wanted something that reflected the fact that I consider reading to be something that’s integral to my life – I always have at least one book with me (a physical book, an audiobook, an ebook, or any combination of the above) and the things that I read tend to tie into whatever mood or interests are striking my fancy at a certain period of my life. So reading is just something that comes naturally and that gets integrated into the flow with everything else.

Cindy:Of all the books you have, what would you say are your top five that everyone should read during their life?

This one’s probably the hardest question you asked me! I had to leave it and come back, and even now, I’m not sure … but I’m just going to have to go with my gut. Off the top of my head, here are five books that I think everyone should have to read during their life, in no particular order:

– The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
– The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of AIDS by Elizabeth Pisani
– The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew – Three Women Search for Understanding by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner
– Watchmen by Alan Moore
– Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore

Cindy: When your not reading or blogging what do you like to do for fun?

I tend to watch an awful lot of movies (for example, earlier this month, I saw a total of 25 feature-length films (and a bunch of shorts tacked onto some of them that I didn’t count) at a documentary film festival called HotDocs here in Toronto, in the span of 9 days. (I think I finally caught up on all the sleep I missed a few days ago.) I also love to bike and run, go geocaching, and go camping during the summer. I love to salsa dance, but have really slacked off on it over the past few years after I stopped taking regular lessons. And I love to cook and bake, especially for other people. (I actually just fed Amy some yummy apple scones a few days ago!)

Cindy:What has surprised you the most about the book blogging community?

Just how huge it is, and how far it reaches! I never expected to be reading someone’s book blog who lives in Sri Lanka, Brunei, or Trinidad and Tobago … but I do! And I never really expected there to be so many people who were so friendly and open, even if you only really interact with them in passing. I wish we could all just meet up in one giant room for a week and get to know each other.

Cindy: Carina, I think that would be so much fun to have a blogging event like that. I am always amazed at how much of the world is book blogging and how friendly and they can be. Since this is a BEA Armchair event have you ever been to any book events?

I’ve been to a couple small events, but nothing really huge. I was actually hoping to be at BEA this year, but the finances and timing (since I’m a teacher) just didn’t work out. A month or two ago, I went to a book reading for “Up Up Up” at the Toronto Women’s Bookstore, and I went to an event called “Word On the Street” back in the fall which was absolutely fabulous. I’m really hoping to get up to more literary-type things once I move … maybe I’ll get to go to the Festival of Literature in Dubai, or some other interesting book-related events elsewhere in the world!

Cindy: I have heard alot of great things about Word on the Street and hoping to make it to Toronto eventually to take part. We don’t have anything like that here.

Carina, I want to thank you so much for taking the time out to answer my questions. Have fun and enjoy your time in UAE. I hope you get to travel and take part in some book events.

Be sure to check out Carina’s blog at Reading Through Life. You can also check out Armchair BEA’s site for more blogger interviews.

You can also go over to Julie’s blog My 5 Monkeys to see the interview she did with me.

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

Armchair BEA Give Away

I have been thinking about doing a give away since I first heard about Armchair BEA and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to offer up until I read this book and knew that this would be perfect.

So to all my readers and fellow Armchair BEA participates here is what you have a chance to win:

Cinderella’s Prince Charming is divorced and at a dead-end in his career, so he opens a bookstore and travels the land ordering books and discovering new authors. Still handsome and still charming, he has given up on women, royalty, and anything that smacks of a future.

Mellie is sick and tired of being called the Evil Stepmother. She did her best by her stepdaughter Snow White, but the girl resented her to no end and made all kinds of false accusations.

Neither of them believes in happily ever after anymore, but both of them believe in happily for the moment…

So one lucky reader will get a chance to win a ARC copy of this book along with some other little goodies.

~Sorry this is only open to bloggers who aren’t at BEA 2011.
~You must have a valid US and Canadian mailing address.
~Please fill out this form:

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

Armchair BEA Day 2

Today’s topic is: Best of 2011.

What was your favorite book of 2011 so far? For me I have to say it was:

As for books that are being promoted at BEA this year that I would love to nab can be seen in this post I did for On My Wishlist.

Also on my list would be:

What books are you hoping to get your hands on for 2011?

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.