Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Meet the Book Blogger: Karielle

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:
I'd always loved reading, loved books as tools for escapism. The summer before I started 10th grade, I read The Hottest State, by Ethan Hawke, and it struck me fiercely. Incredibly emotionally resonating, it became a book I grew attached to, a book I knew I would never forget. The moment I finished the last page, I furiously jotted down my thoughts onto the front cover, title page, dedication page, every blank space in the book I could find, out of fear that I would forget such a feeling in a few day's time. That was something I didn't want to ever happen; to forget the instant rush and reverence of a phenomenally affecting book would be truly tragic. I later typed up these musings onto the blog, making sure they would actually be coherent for other readers (in a mad state, my mind is but a dissonant jumble of words and at worst, feelings). I reposted to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads. People loved it. People requested their own books be reviewed.

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!
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!
Sounds great - I hope it catches on and lots of bloggers join in.

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!
Austin's growing up, and he's still adorable. :)

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:

Twitter: @touurnesol

Readers, now it's your turn ~ any questions for Karielle? Or you can simply wish her happy holidays while she's overseas!

20 comments:

  1. Great interview, Stacey. Love getting to know the bloggers, and happy holidays to Karielle. Enjoy your time overseas!

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    1. Thank you, Stacy! Happy holidays to you as well :)

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  2. Hello Karielle!!! Wonderful to see you and great blog!!!

    brynn chapman

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    1. Brynn! Thanks for checking the interview out. You're a peach! xo

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  3. I love love love your back to the classics feature -- so unique and fun!!

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  4. Wonderful post, Stacey and Karielle!

    I'm enjoying meeting the book bloggers!

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  5. Happy holidays Karielle. Hope you find the time to knock back a few more of the books on your TBR pile. I'm pretty sure that my TBR pile is well past infinity too. Austin is adorable. I've got a 5 lb black poodle that will be 3 years old next month. He's the main man in my life too.

    drainbamaged.gyzmo at gmail.com

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    1. Awww he sounds precious, Kathryn. Ugh the TBR pile that will will never end... the fact is both stressful and highly comforting to me ;) Thanks for coming over!

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  6. Wow! Thanks for this amazing interview! I do believe you just may have the cutest pet in the history of the universe!

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    1. I can't help agreeing with you, though I may be a little biased ;) Thank you so much for reading!

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  7. Thank you so much for having me over, Stacey. You're the best!

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    1. I was happy to have you!

      Thanks for participating, and thanks to all who stopped by and commented!

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  8. I enjoyed the interview thank you.

    An honest review is priceless.

    CUTE dog!!!

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  9. Very good interview. I am glad (?) to hear someone else has a TBR pile to infinity. There are just too many books out there I want to read and not nearly enough time.

    I like your process of writing reviews. Sitting down and immediately jotting down your thoughts is the best way to do it. I always have the best of intensions to write a review. Unfortunately, I usually finish a book in a rush and need to be off doing something else. When I do manage to get back to the book, it is usually days (or weeks) later, and the feelings I had about the book are not fresh enough for a good review.

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  10. Great interview! Its nice to get some insight to how you write your reviews. I like to read book reviews to help me decide if I want to read a book.

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