This is part of Book Blogger Appreciation Week (#BBAW), which is an event created to acknowledge the hard work of book bloggers and their growing impact on book marketing and their essential contribution to book buzz in general. Think of it as a retreat for book bloggers and a chance for us to totally nerd out over books together. And of course, shower each other with love and appreciation.
Still one day behind: increased workload + different time zones is not a good combo. But that's okay because you still get to meet Amber! She's one of the sweetest book bloggers I've ever met and I'm very happy that we got paired for BBAW. She wants to be a writer and is named after a book character. And we both studied in Salamanca! How cool is that? Small world indeed.
Let Amber introduce herself...
I taught middle school English for 2 years (that's what my degree is in), but now I work at a pregnancy help center as their Development Manager. I've always loved books. I would love to be a writer some day if I can get up the courage to do it.
I live in Michigan, USA. I'm married to a microbiologist who is currently getting his PhD in virology. I plan on going back to school for a Masters in Written Communication this fall. And I wish I was smart enough to understand math and science.
Me: What are your favorite genres?
Amber: I love many genres, everything from Star Wars books to mythology to Jane Austen. I review mostly YA novels but like to throw in adult fiction every now and then.
Me: Why did you start blogging? How did you start your blogging partnership?
Amber: I started blogging for a couple reasons. My friend Natalie had been blogging at Mindful Musings for quite awhile and I loved hearing her talk about it. It sounded like so much fun, and I thought it was so cool that she would get ARCs from authors (I didn't know much about the process at the time). When she went to get her PhD, she knew she wouldn't be able to keep up with school and the blog so she asked me if I was interested in taking it over (for the most part. She still posts every now and then). I was so honored and excited when she asked me! She is the one who showed me the ropes, got me connected, and let me become a part of this community.
The other reason I started was that my education was in teaching English. But when I got into the workforce, I had middle school students (13 and 14 year olds). I wasn't in a very good district, and the job just kind of ate me alive. I had to quit after two years because I couldn't handle it any more. But I loved books and missed talking about them and discussing them with friends. Natalie asked me to blog with her just a few months after I stopped teaching. It gave me a creative "Englishy" outlet while I tried to figure out what my new dream would be.
Me: How does your experience sharing a blog differ from solo book blogging?
Amber: I think the main difference between solo blogging and team blogging would be that I didn't have to create all of my contacts on my own. Natalie already had followers and a network of people that read her posts. I didn't have to start from scratch, which I think was a huge confidence booster at a time that I really really needed one. I manage the blog mostly on my own now just because Natalie doesn't have the time. But I think when she finishes her PhD, we might blog together more often.
Me: What got you fascinated with reading?
Amber: I was read to from a young age. I am actually named after a book character (Amberle from The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks), and I've always loved diving into a story and living there for awhile. Books are a way to travel to places where anything is possible. As a kind with a big imagination, books were my place of creativity and escape. Characters came to life and were my friends and enemies. I guess I got this fascination from my parents, but by the time my brother came along, I was reading to him constantly whether he wanted it or not!
Me: How many languages do you speak/read in?
Sadly, English is pretty much it. I can speak/read enough Spanish to have a conversation and get by in a Spanish speaking country on my own, but I can't say I've ever done much "fun" reading in any other language than English. Hopefully someday I will learn enough to be able to enjoy books by Hispanic authors in their native language.
Me: What was your favorite book as a kid?
That is a very difficult question (sorry to have sprung it on you first!). I loved kids books like Go, Dog Go! and anything by Dr. Seuss. Tacky the Penguin was my brother's favorite book and I read it to him so many times that I literally had it memorized as a kid... and could still probably recite a book portion of it! I was also a huge Nancy Drew fan. My grandma had a ton of old Nancy Drew novels that she would send me, and I'm pretty sure that I read just about every Nancy Drew book at my public library growing up. I wanted to be a detective at that point in my life, and the thrill of crime drama and mysteries (on TV and in books) never left!
Me: What genre do you find yourself reading most recently?
Hmmm... I read a lot of YA fiction for the blog, mostly because I really like it and enjoy the imaginative side of YA lit. I've read a few Ann Aguirre books (adult sci-fi and paranormal lit) recently and a few James Patterson novels for fun. I just finished my ARC copy of The Passenger by Lisa Lutz and loved it! I guess I still read crime and mystery books!
As you can see, Amber is quite cool herself, so you can expect her blog to be the same! She has a unique feature called Wine about Wednesday where she pairs the book she's currently reading with a beverage. Her reviews are in-depth and read as if a friend was telling you about the latest book she's read and loved. Read her review of Laura Tisdall's Echoes to see what I mean!
So I suggest you go to her blog and take this chance to get to know an awesome blogger. Or meet her on twitter!