Thursday, March 17, 2011

Meet a Book Blogger: Melissa at YA BookShelf

The March edition of Meet a Book Blogger falls on St. Patrick's Day, so let's all raise a green toast to Melissa of YA BookShelf! She's active on Twitter (@YABookShelf), so feel free to say hi to her there, too.

1. When did you start book blogging, and what was your motivation?
I started book blogging in April of 2010, so it’s been less than a year. I’d thought about starting a blog for some time as a means of building a writing portfolio, but I could never think of a focus for the site that would stick. However, I’d always loved reading and when a friend of mine started a book blog, it inspired me to try it myself.

2. How often do you post?
I post between five and six days a week, sometimes with multiple posts a day.

3. Which kinds of books do you like to review?
While I read books that are outside of the young adult genre, the vast majority of novels I review are YA. Occasionally, I’ll review an adult novel with a teenaged protagonist or a middle-grade novel that catches my eye. As for the type of YA novels that you can find on, I review a pretty large variety of genres, including contemporary, Gothic, paranormal, historical, LGBT, fantasy, and dystopian books that are marketed to both boys and girls. While I certainly review a lot of American and UK authors, I also love reading and reviewing books by Canadian writers.

4. Where do you get the books you review?
The vast majority of books I review come directly from the publisher, author, or a third-party publicity company in either a physical or ebook format. I also use services like NetGalley and the Simon & Schuster Galley Grab program to pick ebooks or ARCs that I really want to check out.

5. Where do you find out about new books?

I learn about new books in a number of different ways. Sometimes it’s through checking the publisher’s website (or when they pitch a new book for me to review), but often I hear buzz about them on Twitter or Facebook from fellow book bloggers or authors that I follow. I love hearing about new books through someone else’s recommendation, especially when I know that their taste in books is similar to mine, as it gives me a better idea of what to expect. That said, when someone pitches a new book to me for review, it’s great because I’ve had the chance to read some phenomenal books that I might not have picked up of my own accord. Books like these that surprise me are always sure to leave a lasting impression.

6. Do you read other book blogs? If so, which are your favorites?
Yes, I do read other book blogs on a semi-regular basis. Some of the ones that I come back to again and again are Good Books And Good Wine and A Tapestry of Words.

7. What’s one of your favorite books? How about the best book you’ve read in the past six months?
My all-time favourite novel is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, but I also really love Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. As for the best book I’ve read in the last six months…oh that’s definitely a hard choice to make. However, if I have to choose, then I’d say Nina LaCour’s Hold Still. It’s a beautiful portrait of a teen’s grief over her best friend’s suicide and shows how she is finally able to move on with art, love, and the joy of new friendships, which not only rings true, but also is very moving.

8. What’s the most enjoyable part of book blogging? What’s the worst part? Do you blog about other topics too?
The best part about book blogging is getting to read some of the best new YA novels and spreading the love about them to other readers of teen fiction. I just love to hear that my review made someone want to pick up a particular novel. The worst part would have to be losing everything I’ve written when my wifi connection fails (it happened quite a bit while I was travelling in Costa Rica recently, so the pain is fresh in my mind). And to answer your other question, yes, I have blogged about other topics on for some memes, but the majority of content on my site is related to the book industry or the marketing of it.

9. Do you have an ereader? If so, do you like it? If not, do you want one someday?
Yes, I have a Sony eReader Pocket Edition, and I love it (only partially because it’s a gorgeous pink colour). Don’t get me wrong…I love the physicality of books and enjoy reading them as well, but personally, I think that there are a lot of pluses for ebooks and eReaders. When it comes to bookshelf space, I have a limited amount of room to store my books, so I try to keep only the ones that I plan to read again. When that isn’t likely, I have no problem with giving them away on my site or to a friend who I think will enjoy them. With ebooks, I don’t have to make this choice because they don’t occupy any physical space. As I’ve said more than once to anyone who would listen, I would love if more book publishing companies offered egalleys as an option for book bloggers, rather than only making physical copies available.

10. What do you do when you’re not reading? 

I read a lot, but when I’m not reading, there are many things I enjoy. Here is a small rundown of some of my favourite non-reading activities. I love designing and illustrating the covers and interiors of books as well as other web and print documents (which I get to do on a regular basis…yay!). I enjoy travelling throughout the world and have been to several countries in Europe, Asia, and Central America, where I recently learned that I really love snorkelling. I have two cats that I love a lot, even when one of them (who is a beautiful Maine Coon) uses me as a scratching post. Finally, I love cooking and baking vegetarian cuisine from all over the world.

Thanks for stopping by, Melissa, and hope you have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day!


Melissa said...

Thanks so much for interviewing me, Joanna. It was a great experience, and I'm really glad that I had the chance to participate. :)

danya said...

Thanks very much for mentioning my blog, Melissa - I'm flattered! Yours is one I visit often as well :)

And I didn't know you were into book design - neat!

Melissa said...

You're welcome, Danya. I'm glad that I was able to meet another Canadian blogger like you. You come up with some really creative posts that I enjoy.

April (BooksandWine) said...

Yay! What an awesome interview. Melissa's blog always has such thought provoking content and you can tell she has a real love for YA.

Melissa said...

Haven't been on the post in awhile, so I didn't see that you'd commented, April.

Thanks for the nice things that you said about my blog. :)