Please welcome Karielle from Books à la Mode
Karielle is one of the very first book bloggers I met. She's tough, but honest--exactly what other readers want from a review, and authors should to! So, let's get to know Karielle, shall we?
When and how did you get started with book blogging?
When I first started Books à la Mode, it was a place for me to vent, to write, to blow off the kind of steam any repressed, frustrated, but passionate kid would suffer from. That I got sucked into the world of literary blogging and bookish endeavors (reviews, interviews, giveaways, tours, et cetera) was pure happenstance. It happened like this:
That's how the modern-day Books à la Mode was born.
I'll be frank with you. The above process is pretty much how all my reviews are written: with a stroke of passion and a drop of insanity ;)
Sounds like the best way--raw reaction and emotion to the written word.
What can readers expect from your reviews?
A unique rating: while I do have a five-heart scale for the sake of retail sites, my criteria is individualized and personalized depending on the book. My reviews not only contain ratings, but also verdicts: why such a book deserves such a rating. The review itself is mostly justified opinion; my reviews are highly subjective and extremely personal; I’ll tell you straight-off what I hate, what I adore, but more importantly, why, as well as analysis: I tend to critique the plot, characters, and author’s style a lot; what I wish would have seen happen, what was weak, what was strong, from a more objective point of view. I try to balance partiality and professionalism.
Recently, you started a brand new Meme on your blog; tell us about it.
Back to the Classics features one book (or series) each week (or however often you choose to post) that you consider classic. It doesn't have to be a Greek classic or a Victorian novel... contemporary classics are always welcome!Sounds great - I hope it catches on and lots of bloggers join in.
This is a free meme, meaning there's no scheduled post dates, no requirements, no prompts—it's completely up to YOU what you decide to post. You're welcome to write a review, ramble in anticipation, make historical rundowns, or provide any other interesting content pertaining to the book you choose. This is supposed to be a fun way to fawn over your favorite books while sharing with your readers your preferences as well!
What is your favorite genre and is there anything you won’t review?
Literary fiction, by far. I’m a fan of almost all fiction, really: romance (including erotica), sci-fi, mystery, thriller, young adult, children’s, fantasy, paranormal. I’m purposely excluding historical fiction here because, while I won’t not review it, I’ve noticed a trend over a years that I don’t enjoy most historical fiction books I read. Just preference. I’ll consider the occasional health- or politics-related non-fiction book, as those are personal interests of mine, but usually when I read non-fic, I don’t exactly enjoy myself... it feels like I’m reading for school (which I get enough of already!).
Reading should definitely be fun if you're not working toward a grade.
How many review requests do you get per week, and how many are you able to actually review per week?
Including tour requests, maybe about 40 a week? Normally, my ‘acceptance rate’ is around 10 per week, but I’ve recently closed my review queue because I’m awfully busy this semester at school, so now I’ve become much more selective. I’ll only take a book if it really captures my attention, not just if someone requests a review for it. I used to accept almost all requests, but I simply don’t have the time to do that anymore. Once school’s over, hopefully I can accept new books regularly again.
Where is your favorite place to read?
I love snuggling in bed, though I often end up falling asleep ‘cause it’s so comfy LOL. I like quiet, public places too, such as a corner café (the patios at Panera rock!) or the library.
|Karielle & Austin|
Do you have a pet who loves to snuggle with you when you read?
I’ve the cutest puppy in the universe, no joke. Meet the main man in my life, Austin :D He’s a little too.... restless.. to snuggle with while reading, but he’s definitely a sweetheart.
He looks like a little Boyd's Bears Teddy Bear!
Paper books or ebooks— and why?
Paper, always. This is probably a really trite answer, but there’s seriously nothing better than being able to flip pages, smooth my hands over a glossy or matte cover, and just carry a print book around.
What does it take in a book to absolutely annoy you to the point where you quit reading or throw the book at the wall?
Stilted dialogue. Can’t stand it. I’ve gritted my teeth through some embarrassingly poorly-executed dialogue in fiction in the past, but no more. Once I encounter it, I’ll gently put it down because if I continue, I know there’s a chance I’ll start beating it with a stick (or bashing my head against the wall, plucking my eyes out, etc etc etc).
Oh, boy! (note to self: Make sure dialogue is NOT stilted!)
What interview question are you always wishing someone would ask but never does? Now answer it for us!
What’s your worst habit?
Being the world’s worst caller-back(er?) or ever picking up my cell, for that matter. The moment I come home I just throw my phone on my bed and forget about it til I check it once before turning in for the night. So if you’re trying to reach me at home, best bet is via land-line or email (which, on the contrary, I check 24/7).
I so get this!
Have you ever stayed up reading all night even when you had to work the next day, and what was the book you cursed while fighting to stay awake all afternoon?
I do this with too many books... *sigh*. Recently, The Original Sinners series by Tiffany Reisz (The Siren and The Angel) did more than excellent at keeping me up all night. Bonus points, I didn’t get anything done those nights (e.g. errands, homework) either! I think when I was in fourth grade...? I stayed up under the covers, pretending to sleep, so that I could finish The Million Dollar Shot by Paul Gutman. I used the crack of light under my bedroom door to read it. I reckon this is why I’m so near-sighted today... it’s all Gutman’s fault *grumble*.
What is your favorite kind of M&M’s? (Plain, Peanut, Almond, Peanut Butter, Pretzel, Dark Chocolate, Coconut)
Dark! Milk chocolate’s always just been too sweet for me. Peanut and almond are pretty addicting, though, I’ll admit. Peanut butter doesn’t taste like peanut butter and pretzel M&M’s are always stale. And coconut?!?! There’s coconut?!?
Thanks for answering this one! We're the opposite in this--I love the Peanut Butter and Pretzel, and Dark isn't sweet enough. *grin* And yes, there's coconut!
Do you like to hear from an author after a review? How do you and your fans feel about authors following, reading and posting on your blog?
When authors give me insight about what they thought about my review of their work, I think it reflects their writing as much as it does mine. As much as I love compliments, I’m also always eager to hear constructive feedback, because it helps me improve the quality of my reviews. If they’ve nothing to say about it, no problem, a simple thank you is fine. I can’t stand it when I send off links to reviews and never hear from the author again. It’s not only unsettling, but it feels like they either hate the review or could care less about it, it makes me feel bad :( So authors, please please at least acknowledge that you received the review, even if you don’t like it! This already-half-insane blogger needs peace of mind ;)
I can say, when reviews come in that are less than stellar, it's a bit unsettling for authors, too. Not that we don't appreciate the honesty and constructive criticism, but our books are our babies, so sometimes an author might not reply because they don't really know what to say, or they're sad the reviewer didn't love it. Or they've been conditioned to not reply to reviews AT ALL. I'm not excusing those who don't respond, because I know you've taken time to read, and write your review, just explaining maybe why they may not have. You're completely right in saying that an acknowledgement and polite "Thank you" is appropriate. (Though I must add, arguing with the blogger's opinion is not.)
As for authors following and posting at the site, of COURSE I love it! It thrills me when authors leave comments on or subscribe to my posts because receiving recognition from writers I so much adore and revere myself, is an amazing feeling — it’s like my work is being appreciated in return.
Do you know how many books currently reside on your To Be Read list?
Absolutely not — my to-be-read stack is piled to infinity and beyond. Literally the only thing in my life guaranteed never to end.
Authors everywhere love that last answer!
Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer questions and visit, Karielle. I really enjoyed getting to know you better and hope readers did, too.
Karielle has a beautiful blog with some great pictures, so check it out and then follow her online:
Readers, now it's your turn ~ any questions for Karielle? Or you can simply wish her happy holidays while she's overseas!