Interview with our Guest Reviewer Marlene + Giveaway

Filed in featured , Giveaways , Guest Bloggers , Marlene , The Geeky Lover Posted on April 4, 2012 @ 7:00 am 21 comments

Today we have something special planned for you here at Book Lovers Inc. We thought it would be nice for you to get to know our guest reviewers some more. Today we have an interview with Marlene and what a coincidence it’s also the blogoversary of her blog Reading Reality today. *wink*

So here’s your chance to get to know Marlene and you can even win things while doing it. Be sure to grill her in the comments to tickle out her deepest secrets. Let the fun begin. 

Susi: Marlene, tell us a bit about your life outside of reading and blogging.

Marlene: What, wait a minute. There’s a life outside reading and blogging? No one told me.

But seriously, or not so seriously, I’m happily married to the love of my life. Who occasionally gets mentioned in the blog. Galen is my husband and also my bestest and most favorite techie. We’re both fairly geeky.

On the geeky side, I love role playing games, particularly of the console variety. I am addicted to Dragon Age, and I still get out Final Fantasy X every once in a while. Gaming is one of my vices.

We also have (or are had by) four cats, Erasmus, LaZorra, Sophie and Mellie, who sometimes get blogged about as well.

I’ve written about Erasmus’ recently in “The Bargain we Make” Erasmus has cancer, and he’s living on borrowed time. We’re making it the very best time for him that we can.

Besides reading, blogging and being staff for the cats, we move a lot. In the last ten years we’ve moved from Chicago to Anchorage to Tallahassee to Chicago to Gainesville (FL) to Atlanta. We seem to have itchy feet.

Susi: As a librarian you have even more contact with books than the usual blogger. Where does your love for the printed word come from?

Marlene: I’m an only child so I had to learn to amuse myself fairly early on. Books are one of the best ways to do that. Inside the pages of a book, you can escape for hours into another world, and it’s totally portable. When I was a kid, we used to go on very long car trips for vacation, just me and my parents. I could take a whole stack of paperbacks and read all day in the car while my dad drove and my mom slept. There wasn’t anything else to do. I learned pretty quick not to get carsick while reading!

Susi: If you had to choose a favorite genre which would it be?

Marlene: Right now, it’s probably science fiction romance.

Susi: And out of curiosity, would the answer have been the same 10 years ago?

Marlene: How far back are we going? In high school, I reread the Lord of the Rings 10 or 15 times, so fantasy, with historical fiction a close second. But then, isn’t epic fantasy just historical fiction with magic?
10 years ago, probably fantasy or paranormal. But science fiction romance was almost impossible to find or differentiate until recently.

Susi: How did you find your way into the blogosphere?

Marlene: Last year, we decided to move to Atlanta for my husband’s job. He’d been telecommuting. The library job market in Atlanta is tough (and stringy). We decided that I would become a consultant to libraries and that one way of promoting my consulting was to start a blog.

My last day at my regular job as April 1, 2011 and I started my blog on April 4, 2011. My birthday was the next day. We were also packing in the middle of everything to move from Gainesville (FL) to Atlanta. There’s a Gainesville (GA) too. I didn’t know that until after we started driving around Atlanta!

Susi: Tell us a bit about your blog Reading Reality. What’s your main focus?


Marlene: It turns out that my biggest focus is ebooks. Which is pretty huge. Let me explain…

Ebooks in libraries are a pretty big hairy deal. The famous/infamous “Big 6” publishers mostly don’t sell to libraries, which means that the best sellers aren’t available.

I’ve blogged about that in 9 Rings, 8 Planets, 7 Dwarfs, 6 Publishers.
On the other hand, library users want ebooks. So there’s this big opportunity for ebook only publishers to get into libraries. Especially since so many of those books are romances, and romances are hugely popular. But they don’t get reviewed in traditional library reviewing sources like Library Journal, Booklist and Kirkus. (Library Journal has started reviewing them online, I review for them, but it’s a drop in the proverbial bucket)
But what if someone made it easy for librarians to find reviews for ebook-only titles, so there was a way to pick which ones to buy? Making ebook only titles closer to normal, instead of “special snowflakes”? That’s how Ebook Review Central was born.

Every Monday, all the titles from one ebook-only or ebook-mostly publisher from a single month, links to all the reviews I can find, and I highlight three featured titles that have the most and/or best reviews.

Susi: Your blogoversary is today. In retrospect, what did you love most about blogging so far and what did annoy the heck out of you?

Marlene: What I love is sharing good books. And receiving good books. I’ve never had a problem getting “free” books to read from about two months after I started my blog. That’s when I signed up for NetGalley, and Harlequin approved me for Carina. Although it’s a little like an addiction at this point.

And there’s kind of a groove I get into when the writing is going well, there’s nothing quite like it. The words just flow and it’s magic.

But ARRGGGHHH! The hard part is promoting the blog. Definitely. I could read and write forever, but putting myself out there, it feels like standing on the street corner naked.

Susi: Which was the best book you reviewed in your first year of blogging?

Marlene: Gee whiz, I’m only allowed to pick one?

If I could only pick one book, it would be Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, the audiobook read by Wil Wheaton. That was perfect, especially when Wheaton named himself in the story as one of the peoples’ representatives. Because he SO would be.

But I feel like you’ve just asked me to name which of my children is my favorite. Ready Player One is science fiction, but what about my favorite romance or my favorite mystery? Not fair, not fair!

Thanks so much Marlene. For her blogoversary celebration Marlene has also some fabulous giveaways planned.

You can win a  USD$15 Amazon GC here

The Watchmaker’s Lady  by Heather Massey in this post 

There will be more things to win at her place tomorrow on April 5 (the links won’t work yet but tomorrow you can go and check the posts out):

a USD$20 Amazon GC in this post 

Heather Massey’s Queenie’s Brigade in this post 

All 4 giveaways end at midnight on April 8.

Places to find Marlene: 

Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


 In celebration of Marlene’s blogoversary I will giveaway a little swag pack to one lucky winner.

Swag pack includes:

– some Gini Koch postcards, cover magnets, calendar magnet

– signed Moira Rogers swag: Postcard, trading card and a Bloodhound sticker

– signed Joely Sue Burkhart bookmarks, trading cards and a pen

– Book Lovers Inc bookmarks

All you have to do is ask Marlene a question. 
(You can read our full giveaway policy here)

You will also get an extra entry if you head over to Marlene’s blog and leave a comment on her Blogoversary post here.

(HINT: she has a giveaway running for a  USD$ 15 Amazon GC too *wink*)

Please be sure to include a valid email address in the comment form (need not be in the actual body of the comment).

This giveaway is open to all!

Giveaway ends on Saturday, April 7th, 2012; we will announce the winner on Sunday.

Good luck!

About Susi

Susi is a geeky vegetarian from Gemany. She just finished university and now works as a civil engineer in steel construction. Besides her reading addiction she also knits like a maniac while listening to audiobooks. Susi also blogs at the Secret HEA Society.

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Join the Discussion
  • miki April 4, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Hi Marlène^^,
    i would like to know is there is genre you won’t read at all and why. Also which is the author ou are dreaming to meet ( or has already perhaps)
    thanks you a lot and Happy birthday and Happy blogoversary ( i was on your blog this morning too^^;;)

    all the best

  • Marlene April 4, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Hi Miki!
    There probably isn’t any genre I won’t read at all. There are some that have to sneak in the back door.
    Literary Fiction is one I won’t pick up if I know what it is up front. When I read the summary, it always sounds like a whole lot of angst and not a lot of action. Or plot. I like my stories with some story in them. Which is why I read romance and science fiction and fantasy and mystery. Stuff happens. (Sometimes stuff gets blown up, but stuff happens)
    Who do I want to meet? Guy Gavriel Kay and Neil Gaiman. They’re still meet-able. I would love to meet J.R.R. Tolkien, but that’s not happening.
    Thanks for stopping by Reading Reality! and for commenting at BLI, too.

  • Keetra April 4, 2012 at 12:00 pm


    Happy blogoversary, Marlene! 🙂 Thank you for the interview, it was interesting, especially because I’m just thinking about opening my own booking blog 🙂
    And you said 10 years ago your answer about your favorite genre would have been fantasy and paranormal – I’d like to ask you which paranormal book was your favorite one? 🙂 Currently I can’t get enough of paranormal romances (and urban fantasies), and I’m interested 🙂

    And thank you for the giveaway! 🙂
    +1 for leaving a comment on Marlene’s blog 🙂

    • Marlene April 4, 2012 at 12:18 pm

      Keetra, thank you and you’re welcome!
      Isn’t it hard to figure out where urban fantasy ends and paranormal begins?
      I loved the early Anita Blake, like maybe the first 6, but after that, OMG.
      UF, definitely Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden, but his love life is SO awful they can’t be paranormal romance.
      Gail Carriger;s Soulless is awesome paranormal, especially if you like a historic feel in your paranormal, and the series just finished, so it doesn’t go on FOREVER.
      Nalini Singh’s Psy-changeling series is to-die-for marvelous and contemporary. That’s the one I glom up the minute it comes out. Like at midnight oh one I’m waiting for my ebook to download.
      I could probably go on forever myself on this!

  • miki April 4, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    thanks you for answering me

  • blodeuedd April 4, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Hi marlene 🙂

    So if you like sci-fi romance, what would you recommend? I’d sure like to read more

    • Marlene April 4, 2012 at 4:37 pm

      How much time you got?
      But seriously…Heather Massey’s Queenie’s Brigade was terrific, and I’m giving away a copy tomorrow!
      Also Unacceptable Risks by Jeanette Grey
      Isolation by A.B. Gayle, which I just finished a couple of weeks ago and loved.
      Lois McMaster Bujold’s first two Vorkosigan books, Shards of Honor and Barrayar, are SFR, they’re just not marketed that way.
      Anything by Linnea Sinclair, she’s awesome
      The entire Liaden series by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, start with either Local Custom or Agent of Change
      And then there’s the WBOW (whole ball of wax) list at The Galaxy Express of must-read SFR. When I need a fix I take a look at that one for suggestions.
      Have fun in the spacelanes!

  • draconismoi April 4, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Wait, seriously? Vorkosigan is a SF romance? I have that in my TBR pile. I didn’t know it was romance. Argh! It would have been better for me never to know that. They’ve just been downgraded.

    • Marlene April 4, 2012 at 6:50 pm

      Only the first two. After that, it’s totally space opera, and pretty complicated space opera at that. But mom and dad had to get together somehow…

  • sienny April 5, 2012 at 8:24 am

    hi Marlene! nice to know you 🙂

    why did you said OMG for books after 6th in anita blake series? is it because she adds more men each book? because i shake my head every time she adds more men in her line-up :p

    • Marlene April 5, 2012 at 8:40 am

      I said OMG because she adds more men and more angst about the men but less monster-fighter or anything else. It started as “Anita Blake Vampire Hunter” Not Anita Blake Porn without Plot”
      I like a little PWP but not 20+ books of it. And without the angst.

  • Rachel @ theJeepDiva April 5, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Happy Blogoversary and Birthday to you Marlene! Thanks for the interview. I am an only child also and that is how I got started on reading so much. We have a very small town library in my home town and the bigger libraries do not have ebooks available to check out. Is there an online library for ebooks that is available for anyone? I just started following blogs a few months ago and just started reviewing for one this month.

    rachel at thejeepdiva dot com

    • Marlene April 5, 2012 at 11:55 am

      Rachel, us “onlies” have to stick together. There is one public library that is kind of available for everyone. The Free Library of Philadelphia will sell out-of-state residents an online card that lets them use their ebooks for a year. It’s a pretty reasonable cost and they have a good sized collection.
      And sign up for NetGalley, as long as you are reviewing for an established blog, you should be able to start getting review ebooks fairly quickly. There are always a few books that anyone can get that will help you establish yourself.
      Have fun blogging!

  • SharonS April 5, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Hey! congrats on the blogo-birthday! Do you ever get bloggers block? Sometimes I just can’t find the words to review a book…something so easy can seem so hard! thanks 🙂

    • Marlene April 5, 2012 at 11:59 am

      Oh do I ever! I sit and stare at the screen. Then I play a few minutes of Castleville. Then I stare at the screen again.
      Then I go for a walk or take a shower. Showers are fantastic for blogger’s block! I get some of my best ideas in the shower. Really, truly!
      There’s probably a whole post on cures for blogger’s block.

  • Brenda Hyde April 5, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    I try not to be a cover “snob” but still find myself cringing at some book covers out there. Do you do this, or can you ignore the covers?

    • Marlene April 5, 2012 at 6:15 pm

      I have OMG moments on both ends of the spectrum. The “it’s boring” and “it’s awful” and “what happened to her arm, or his leg, or her head?” And some of the man boobs are bigger than mine!
      But there are a couple of sites dedicated to really laughing at romance novels, especially the older ones. Uncle Walter’s Bad Romance Novel Quotes and Get Yer Bodices Ripped Here are personal favorites!
      When the covers get to me too much I read mysteries for a while.

  • Victoria Zumbrum April 5, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Marlene what inspires you to be a writer? What is your favorite book?

    • Marlene April 5, 2012 at 9:30 pm

      I had to delete my first attempt at an answer. I started writing and couldn’t stop!
      As a librarian, I’m a natural “question-answerer”. Sometimes, that’s all it takes. A question.
      The one question I never have an answer for is the favorite book question. I love so many books in so many genres. Favorite SF? Favorite Fantasy? Favorite Romance, Time-travel, Paranormal? What would I recommend to someone who loved a genre vs. someone who wanted an introduction?
      The question is too big for a single title answer.
      Probably it’s the book I’m reading now, because I don’t know how it ends, yet. And it will be a different one tomorrow!

  • Mary Preston April 6, 2012 at 3:37 am

    I’m a fan of Neil Gaiman’s too. My question: would you like to visit or live in NEVERWHERE’s London Below?

    I left a comment on the blogoversary post.

    • Marlene April 6, 2012 at 9:18 am

      I loved Neverwhere! But that’s a trick question isn’t it? Kind of? Could you just visit? I would want to visit. I’m not so sure about being a permanent resident. Same about Simon Green’s Nightside London, which it is possible to visit, but people don’t seem to want to leave.

      Thanks for stopping by my party. The more guests the merrier. I love the internet! So far, there’s infinite space!

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