1. Do you take turns writing reviews and doing the posts for your blog? Maybe one person handles reviews and the other giveaways? Let us know how that works and what sort of schedule you’ve figured out.
M: Yes, Jenn actually started the blog and asked me to be part of it and help with some of the reviews. She's pretty much the "boss." She handles all the updates and contests, but we both write reviews. We don't really take turns or have a schedule or anything. That might be a good idea though, thanks :) Jenn and I usually read the same books at around the same time like a book club, and while we're reading, we constantly discuss and laugh and gush and cry about the books together through emails, texts, calls, and every time we hang out. We pretty much share the same opinions, so most of our reviews reflect our "book club" discussions.
J: Yes, Mary and I run the blog; I guess you would say I’m more of the webmaster. I upload all of the content and work on the layouts. However, my husband did design our logo, which I love. When Mary does the reviews, she sends them to me via e-mail and I upload them to the blog. She reviews everything I add and we make suggestions back and forth to better the blog. I wish I would have chosen a better name for the blog but it was really late when I chose it and I just wanted something super direct. I’m working on getting a “maryreadsfiction” e-mail account but we’ll see. We both contribute to the giveaways, we do not ask authors to send us books however, we do ask them to sign it. Some cities/states don’t ever get Author signings and I feel bad for the fans. So being from L.A. we are really fortunate to have so many opportunities to meet with authors. So we enjoy holding giveaways. Most of the authors go that extra step and provide us with SWAG to add to our giveaway (Josie Angelini/Starcrossed & Suzanne Young/A Need So Beautiful) without even asking..we love them too by the way. I wish we were more consistent with the blog but sometimes reading trumps the blog, we’re working on our momentum and in a couple of months I think it’ll be more consistent.
2. It looks like you are quite new to blogging. Tell us what prompted you (besides the love of reading) to get started blogging. What do you think of the experience so far? What are your long term goals for your blog?
M: Like I said, Jenn started the blog. I think she felt it was a healthy way for us to share our "love" of books to others and maybe spread the word on certain books we felt people should read. We're always talking books in public and recommending books to our friends and the blog is a fun outlet for that. I've really enjoyed the experience so far. It's like when I was in high school and had to write essays on my reading assignments. I used to love that. As far as long term goals go, I'm not so sure I have any. I just like what my part in the blog is right now. It's fun.
J: We ARE so new to blogging. Mary and I started reading a couple of YA novels and then we wanted to read more. We looked at some sites, like Amazon and used their suggestions. But there were some books we weren’t sure about so we ended up on other people’s blogs and we were really impressed. We mostly just wanted more suggestions as to what we could read. Then we found ourselves talking about books several times throughout the day and kept going over the books we had read. I was in a bookclub before but it felt nothing like the experience Mary and I were having. I’ve always read but we’re like borderline obsessive now. It’s a good kind of obsession. I think we’re doing pretty well for our first blog, there are a lot of things we could be doing better but we just take it one step at a time. As long as we have followers and activity, we’ll keep it up for them. I feel like I made some twitter friends and I look forward to their tweets and comments. We love holding giveaways and getting our fellow readers and authors involved. I was actually just thinking about our long term goals just recently. We’ll just have to see where it leads, but for right now, we’re just happy reading and blogging about it. Although, in the future, I’d love to work in publishing.
3. I can see that YA is your most favorite genre. What is the best YA book you’ve read so far this year and why? And also, what are some of your favorite YA books of all time?
M: There were so many amazing books that came out this year that it's hard to name just one, but I think for me, and maybe Jenn will agree, Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini really stood out. I just couldn't put it down. I was so intrigued with the story and I fell in love with all the characters. I blush just thinking about Lucas Delos. I also thought the storyline was pretty original. Jenn and I even went to one of the author's events and loved Josie. She was so sweet and down to earth. This book kinda catapulted Jenn's decision to start a blog. We couldn't stop talking about it and we felt like we kept leaving our friends out of the conversation.
My favorite YA books of all time? The first YA book i fell in love with was Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. My brother recommended it to me and it blew me away. More recently, I became obsessed with the Hunger Games trilogy. This is actually the series that really got me into the YA genre. After that, I was on a strict YA diet.
J: I’m 27 and I’ve been reading some sort of YA since I was in grade school, I actually read more of American Lit and then in the eighth grade I read The Giver and have been interested in it ever since. I have some non-YA books that I love but lately it seems that all I’ve been reading is YA, which I also LOVE. Starcrossed by Josie Angelini was my favorite of the year. In fact, Mary and I had planned a trip for the last week of August to head to Boston, Nantucket (where Starcrossed takes place) and New York, but unfortunately due to the Hurricane, we had to cancel. But as far as other YA novels, I am a Harry Potter fanatic and Twilight lover. More recently I fell in love with The Hunger Games, but those are my top fave series. I also really love anything Jennifer Echol’s writes too. Mary and I have been lucky enough to read some ARCs and the future of YA is definitely thriving and we’re so happy to be a part of it.
4. Tell us a little about yourselves. What do you do in your real life? What other hobbies do you have besides reading? What would a perfect day include?
M: Professionally, I'm a makeup artist and I love my job! It's very fulfilling helping people feel good about the way they look. I work in a salon and also freelance for weddings and special events. When I'm not working, I'm usually at home reading off of my Kindle, which has become my best friend. I also enjoy watching TV and going to movies. I love spending time with my girlfriends- going to restaurants or dancing at clubs. Hanging out with my family and friends. I'm also a Disneyland passholder and I'm a huge Britney Spears fan! Don't laugh! A perfect day for me would include all of the above. Unfortunately, there aren't enough hours in a day to do all that.
J: I have an office job with tons of responsibilities and I assist people, sort of hospital administration. I’ve been doing it for almost 7 years and it allows me to do other things I love, primarily read, travel and buy books. I also work at a retail store on the weekends and I love it because I have amazing coworkers and I also get to share my literary life with them. Just like Mary, I am a Disneyland annual passholder and we try to go as much as we can. I love to go out as much as I can during the work week so the weekends can be devoted to reading or getting through as much of a book as I can. Reading The Hunger Games while working 70 hours a week was extremely challenging and I found myself trying to sneak my kindle during the day which was not very smart. But I had no choice! Haha. But as far as a regular day, I wake up, read while my husband and I carpool to work, go to work, read for an hour at lunch…work a few more hours, read for my 15 break and then read when I get home. I was really happy about this past summer because I was able to read more than 30 books and still spend time with my husband and friends. We go out a lot, have dinners, potlucks, watch TV, movies and everything. I’m really lucky to have them in my life. Mary and I have been talking about books so much that we even got some of our friends and co-workers to read some of the books we’ve read.
Did I mention Mary is my booktwin? She is. I love her like a sister and we have the same wants and interests when it comes to reading a good YA book.
5. If you could read yourself into any story/book, which one would it be and why?
M: I guess I'd like to be in Pride and Prejudice. I know it's a cliche but it's my favorite book (of all genres). I can't help it. I love that time period. I love the parties and the scenery and the formality.
J: This question is so hard! But, I think it would have to be the Harry Potter Series. I love magic and I love all the characters in it. For 5 minutes, I’d probably make myself the same age as Harry, in let’s say book six, where he was his happiest. He was away from the Dursley’s, awesome in Quidditch and was finally doing well in potions.
Thanks so much to both of you for your awesome answers! To my readers, please check out their blog especially if you you are a YA lover. They have reviews on all the favorites! You can also follow them over on Twitter @jenreadsfiction. (Oh, and do head over there to see my answers to their questions too! They asked some good ones!)
Also, be sure to check out the full list of interview links over at the main BBAW page here.
Also, be sure to check out the full list of interview links over at the main BBAW page here.