Bookmas Blogger Spotlight

Oh come, all ye faithful…

Join us in another Bookmas Meet The Book Blogger special!

I´m honored beyond words to be able to introduce you to another fantastic book blog. 

Let´s give a round of applause for  Book Twins Reviews!

 

 

I´ve had the privilege to interview Corina and Tijuana, the beautiful minds who run BTR and I have to say – I have a new appreciation for these book addicts. Corina and Tijuana don´t simply blog about books… They invest so much love in their craft. So much so that it puts me and others to shame * elegantly hiding face *

They´re quick. They´re on point.

They have style ( those Insta pics…. * fan girl moment * )

They´re just awesome.

And here´s the special moment I was granted with the awesomeness that runs the Book Twins Reviews blog.

I hope you enjoy.


 

interview


 

 

Morgana:    Ladies, I want to thank you so much for agreeing to undertake this interview. I know how stuffed your schedules must be with the holidays so close. And with all the December releases… Sheesh. I appreciate you taking the time for this. You´re awesome. Speaking of… How about we find a seat somewhere near a fireplace and make ourselves comfortable?

Corina:    What are we having to drink? Coffee, hot cocoa, tea, wine, shots or maybe cocktails? Whatever it is- I think I have enough in stock to last us a while. What about food? What should our go-to cuisine be for the evening?

Tijuana:    I’ll take a hot chocolate with lots of whip cream anytime, please!!! Especially if we are sitting next to a fireplace. And I’m a huge fan of Smörgåsbords and cheese and fruit platters.

I’m a coffee girl through and through. My favorite is cafe mocha with whipped cream. Yum! Like Corina, I’m a fan of finger foods as well.

 

Morgana:    Then why don´t we just squat down and feast on a Smörgåsborg and drink whatever Corina has in stock? As long as none of us has to move away from the fireplace.

 

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Morgana:    I´ve been following your blog for some time now ( especially your Instagram ) because of two reasons: 1 – I love most of the books you read / review.

2 – I love your blog concept. You send out positive vibes no matter what you feature. Which brings me to my question: Do you review and feature every book you read? Or do you skip a book ( for whatever reason ) and move on to the next?

 

Corina:    Thank you so much!!!

TJ and I talked about what kind of ratings we wanted to feature on our blog. And we came to the conclusion that we wanted to feature the books that we would want other people to read.

Rarely, it happens that a book annoys me so much that I end up reviewing it. At this point I really need to be careful about when I write my review. I made the mistake once and wrote the review right after I finished the book, and wowzer  – that one ended up being more like a rant than a constructive review…

But to answer your question, because I DNF so many books, I stopped reviewing those. There are two reasons why. When I DNF a book I don’t feel like only because I had a bad day or are fighting my way out of a book slump that the book wouldn’t have been loved by others. It shouldn’t suffer only because of my I-had-a-bad-day review. And there are definitely a couple of books in addition to my DNFs that I don’t review. Those are usually the just ok books. Not memorable enough, and I have just nothing to say about them.

Tijuana:    Corina’s answer is spot on! We have frequent discussions about ratings and what to feature on the blog. My belief is that only our favorites should be featured. While I don’t DNF books as frequently as my bestie, I wouldn’t feel comfortable featuring them on the blog. When I started blogging a few years ago, my intentions were to shout about books that I love, not  rant about those I don’t. That’s still, sort of, our motto.

 

Morgana:    Makes total sense. Sadly, I don´t go that route but I do admire you two for not reviewing your DNFs or the books you felt were just “okay” and for only featuring your favorites. I wish I had it in me to move on like that. ❤ 

 

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Morgana:    I think it´s great you review a variety of genres. I found that being a fan of YA, Contemp. Rom.  and Paranormal myself has helped me a great deal with reading slumps. Yupp. I´m a mood reader. Do you pick your next reads as they´re released ( or when you spot them ) or are you a mood reader, as well?

 

Corina:    Oh, I’m totally a mood reader!! But I’m also ruled by new releases. My favorite thing to do is checking the New Release tap on Goodreads. I’m getting really excited when I see what’s coming out next, and for many of those new releases I will drop everything and anything I’m currently reading. But I also agree with you, reading a variety of genres and in my case listening to audiobooks, has kept my slumps in check this year. None of my book funks lasted longer than a week. And I believe that’s mostly because I switch genres, listen to audiobooks in between and reread favorite books if nothing else entices me.

Tijuana:    I’m a hybrid in this scenario. I can definitely be a moody reader, but a lot of my reads are also determined by release scheduling, since the bulk of them are beta reads. Because of that, I like to schedule breaks in my schedule to read only what suits my fancy at the moment. Switching genres or from kindle to audiobooks is also something I love to do.

Morgana:    Would either of you be interested in marrying me? Lol. I´m dead serious. No long lasting reading slumps, scheduled breaks… It feels like we were made for each other! Although, I can´t do audiobooks. They drive me nuts. 

 

REFILLS!

 

Corina:    I’m all for refills. 😀

Tijuana:    I’ll have another☺️

Morgana:    Me too. And it looks like we´re going to have to draw straws or play rock – paper – scissors. I don´t see any of us willing to move to get refills.

 

flake

 

Morgana:   Now let´s get down to the nitty gritty: You´ve mentioned in your About Me that you squeeze out as much time as possible to read / always with your nose stuck in a book. I´m imagining you doing all kinds of things just to be able to continue a story you can´t put down. How far would you go to finish an awesome read? Would you hide? Read while cooking / cleaning / being stuck in traffic? Feel no shame, ladies, because I´m constantly hiding from the people who curse themselves my loving family.

 

Corina:     I’ve actually turned into a kind of hermit the last couple years – lol. I often rather stay home than socialize, because of that my weekends are mostly dedicated to reading, bookish browsing and photography. I’ve been known to read in the bathroom. I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager, trying to hide from my mother who wanted me to do homework. Nowadays it’s just a habit. But I definitely read at work, during lunch break, in the car, in a line at a store, post office, airport – actually anywhere and everywhere. Having a kindle has changed my life.

 

Tijuana:    I have absolutely no shame! Yes! I will hide from my husband and kids. That late meeting at the office, could very well be the last couple chapters of a book I can’t put down. I’m also a huge audiobook fan. I listen to books constantly! While I’m driving, cooking, cleaning, having a bath! You name it and I’ve probably tried to do it with earbuds while listening to a favorite book!

I’ve tried Corina’s tactic of hiding in the bathroom, but kids have no boundaries.

 

Corina:    OMG I totally forgot about audiobooks – lol!!! Doing chores, especially laundry and listening to books is the BEST thing EVER!!!

 

Morgana:     Tijuana- I agree. Kids have no boundaries. Mine are old enough to know better and STILL think the bathroom is the livingroom instead of Mommy´s only room she can lock herself in. LOL. Corina-  YES! Bathroom reading was a necessity that´s become a habit ( and sort of still a necessity. It´s not mom anymore who´s bugging. It´s the people who ask a million questions through a keyhole now ). I feel you ladies. Love your answers. I still can´t understand the audiobook love, though. You´ll have to sell that one to me another time. 

 

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Morgana:    You´re really active on social media. You have your blog, a Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram…. Where do you enjoy hanging out the most when you´re book blogging?

 

Corina:    At the moment Instagram is my medium. I love the combination of photography and books. Both of those – photography and reading – have been my most passionate hobbies for years now. Being able to combine them has been a real joy so far. And the bookstagram community has been just amazing.

Tijuana:    Having a partner is key for us. While Cor is primarily on IG, I manage our Facebook presence. That’s really helped us choose a focus we’re most comfortable with. It also allows us to have fun IRL!

Corina:    I agree with TJ. Having a presence on all these social media platforms stretched us too thin, so we chose the platform we love most and share the rest. It really works for us.

 

Morgana:     There´s so much truth about being stretched too thin when it comes to working all social media platforms. It amazes me when I see other bloggers work everything around the clock. I always wondered how they do it but am glad to know there are book bloggers out there who only concentrate on what works best for them. Good job, ladies! ❤ And yes, having a partner is KEY, otherwise you´d over work yourself. 

 

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Morgana:    From one book blogger to another: Can you tell me what turns you on and what turns you off while reading? Is there a particular trope that annoys you / one that you love?

 

Corina:   Lol – I HATE drama!! That’s why I have such a hard time with YA novels. And there is a certain writing that doesn’t work for me. I think TJ calls it flowery, overly descriptive. I’ve also noticed that I don’t care what trope it is as long as the writing is witty, smart and engaging. It’s really all about the writing at this point. But, just to put it out there, I LOVE office and sports romances. Forbidden and jerks do it for me too – lol. Same as enemies to lovers – I love the tension in the air when enemies turn into lovers.

 

Tijuana:    I’m not picky at all! I like so many different genres and tropes. As long as the writing is good and the book was edited well, I’ll read it. Being an English Major, nothing turns me off more than poor editing and grammatical errors.

 

Morgana:    YES! The writing is mandatory. If a book is poorly written / has too many errors then there´s really no use in continuing. A shame, really. Flowery, overly descriptive? Never heard that one before but I do like it  * wink *. BTW- High five on the enemies to lovers trope! So with you on the tension bit. Forbidden is a close runner up! Love those, as well. 

 

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Morgana:    We know you love to book blog. Anyone who spends time on your blog can feel your devotion. But tell me: What is it exactly you love about book blogging?

 

Corina:    Hmm…. I think the idea of being able to talk about books is what makes this entire endeavor of being a book blogger so great. I would be a professional book reader/blogger if possible – lol.

Tijuana:    Reading has always been my passion! But blogging for me is more about the relationships I’ve been privileged enough to nurture. I’ve met so many amazing people over the years. Some of them are now my closest friends. That’s what I love most about this journey.

Corina:    This is so true…. We wouldn’t have found each other, or having this amazing friendship without starting our own blogs and deciding to merge. I’ll be always grateful for having TJ as my partner. Our up to 7 hour long phone calls are proof enough – lol.

Morgana:    7 hour phone calls? * falls off chair * WOW! * composing myself again * You´re absolutely right about the bonding, Tijuana. And I can totally see you both going all professional in this blog business. You´re already professional with blogging on the side. ❤

 

flake

 

Morgana:    If I could grant you 3 wishes (book related or not )… What would you wish for and why?

 

Corina:    Having my own library is on the very top of that wishlist. Who doesn’t want a cozy room, filled with books, a fireplace, a big cozy chair and all the time in the world to read? That get’s me right to the next wish – being able to read for a living. Hellooooooo!!! That would be a dream come true for me!!

And of course, all my friends being bookworms would be the icing on the top. But being on bookstagram, having TJ as a blog partner and being part of this amazing book community, having the chance to meet YOU and chat books,  takes care of that.

 

Tijuana:    I’m leery of wishes. Weird I know 😂😂

 

Morgana:    Naaaw ❤ I agree, Corina. And thank you. I´m glad I met you as well 🙂 Tijuana- Then I will gift you a life long vacay on Bora Bora with a hut just for books. 🙂

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Morgana:    Is there something you´d like to see more of in the book blogging community?  Are there things that annoys you about the book blog world?

 

Corina:    I would love to have more bookish meetups. Local or international, anything really. It’s a great feeling to be around bookworms. There is some drama I could do without, but we are all just human, authors and readers included.

Tijuana:    Honestly, no.  I love my circle of blogger friends. They’re like an extension of my family and I enjoy interacting with them daily.

 

Morgana:    Wouldn´t that be great to have more bookish meetups? I´d love for that to happen more often. Drama – Meeh. It´s there. Can´t seem to function with or without it. Lol. Tijuana- I love how you see your blogger friends as extended family.

 

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 Morgana:    As a book blogger, our main purpose is to recommend books ( or not recommend them, depending on the book, or course ). And with all the classics still making their rounds… Do you see some of the modern day books we read and review becoming timeless classics one day? If so, which books do you think will still be around in 100 years from now?

 

Corina:    That’s a good question, and not an easy one to answer. Of course the first book/series that pops into my mind is Harry Potter, I remember reading it 18 years ago, and teenagers 20 years later just start picking it up. I’m actually rereading it the first time since publication. I also hope that books like Wonder by R.J. Palacio and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas will be read and talked about in 50 or 100 years. I’m pretty sure fantasy books like the kind from Brandon Sanderson (Stromlight Archive) will endure the times. I’m not sure about romance.

Tijuana:    I’m extremely impressed by Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles and Garth Nix’s Abhorsen Series.

Morgana:    I think both of you could be right. I have a gut feeling Wonder and the Lunar Chronicles will still be around in the future ( Although I haven´t read the Lunar Chronicles. I´m just speculating) And Harry P. will, without a doubt, still be around. 

flake

 

Morgana:    I´m not going to be THAT cruel person and ask what your favorite book is. So, I´m going to be sneaky and flip the question around so that it doesn´t sound so painful. Lol. Is there a book (s) you can´t imagine not having? Let the name sharing parade begin!

 

Corina:    Lol – well done!!!!

Kate Daniels (by Ilona Andrews) will always be books I can’t live without.

Wait for It and Winnipeg by Mariana Zapata

Scoring Wilder by RS Grey

Fatal series by Marie Force

The Search by Nora Roberts

Like Us series by KB Ritchie

Look the Part by Jewel E Ann

Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold by Ellen O’Connell

Captive Prince trilogy by C.S. Pacat

 

Tijuana:    The Abhorsen Trilogy is usually my standard answer. Also, A Separate Peace. My favorite contemporary romance hasn’t released yet, but you’ll HAVE to read it when it does — The Kiss Thief by L.J. Shen

 

Morgana:    OMG! I have my eyes set on The Kiss Thief! I´m just burning to get my hands on that one. January can´t roll on fast enough. I´m writing the rest down. All these titles are gonna make me a poor church mouse * holding back my sob *

 

flake

 

Morgana:    What are you reading now and is the book something you can recommend right away?

 

Corina:    Let’s say the last book I read that I would highly recommend is Fatal Invasion (book #13) by Marie Force – I would recommend starting at book ONE. This series reliably gives me 5 star reads every single time.

I also finished Jock Rule by Sara Ney and The Ex Effect by Karla Sorensen – both were very enjoyable and I would recommend them both to anyone that loves sports romances.

Tijuana:    Corina will wring my neck for this, but I’m in the middle of a Kristen Ashley reread.🙈 Rock Chick Redemption! And yes, I highly recommend it. This series is one of my most read and all time favorites!

Corina:    LALA – I’m not hearing this!!!!!!

Morgana:    BUT I NEED TO HEAR WHAT TIJUANA HAS TO RECOMMEND!!!! Continue, dear. I´m all eyes and ears. * writing all titles down* I love Kristen Ashleys books. The rest I´ll have to check out. 

 

flake

 

Ladies, our time has come to an end ( Making a pouty face because, we need a little drama for the sake of… drama ). Thank you loads for taking your time to share your thoughts with me / us. It´s been great chatting with you. We definitely need to do this more often.

 

Corina:    Thank you so much for having us!! It was an honor and pleasure to chat with you. And as you now know, I could chat books all day long!!!

 

Morgana: ❤ The pleasure was all mine! We should do this again some time. 🙂 ❤

 

Morgana:    Okay. Who´s gonna put the fire out? Or should we continue behind the scenes and invite some book boyfriends over?  Do we need more drinks? Is this a sleepover? You know what? We have this amazing fireplace and no butler. This sucks.

 

Corina:    Definitely inviting book boyfriends over. Just wish I had a couple on speed dial…… need to get a couple numbers for next time.

Morgana:    Make it happen, chica! I´ll be waiting. * wink *


 

Thank you so much for taking your time to get to know Corina and Tijuana from Book Twins Reviews! Please make sure to show these hard working ladies some book love by stalking them on their social media! Leave them a comment, a like and be sure to follow!

 

Blog ♦ Twitter ♦ Facebook ♦ Instagram ♦ Pinterest 

Goodreads (Corina) ♦ Goodreads (Tijuana)

 

 

 

Don´t forget to leave a comment and hit that star button if you liked this post! 

Have a wonderful day filled with books and… books. 

Yours truly,

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Standalones, Duets, Trilogies, Oh My.

Standalones. Duets. Trilogies…. Terms that are common in the literature world. These words tell a reader exactly what they´re getting themselves into before they purchase their next read.

But before we start, why not give everyone a quick reminder of what the true definition these words carry.

Standalone – A standalone is either a single book or a book from a series written by an author that doesn´t require a reader to have read the rest of the series in order to understand the plot. The book can stand on it´s own.

Duet – A 2 book story. Duo = Duet.

Trilogy – 1 connected / ongoing story available in a set of 3 books

Tetralogy – 4 books

Pentalogy – A set of 5 books

Hexalogy – 6 books

Series – A sequence of books

Novella – A long short story ( either connected to a story or a standalone )

And the list goes on and on and on….

 

There´s a wonderful large pallet of book sets ready for a reader to enjoy. But… are duets, trilogies and tetralogies really all that enjoyable? Or are author´s pushing their luck with their 5+ book series?

Here´s a little fun fact: Most book people ( bloggers and readers alike ) don´t even use certain terms when referring to a set / sequence of books. Any author that has published a connected story with 4 + books is called a series. Just as 3 books are a trilogy. No one goes out of their way to say they´ve read an awesome pentalogy.

Our book lingo is more simple. It´s either a standalone, a duet, a trilogy or a series.

Although, I have to admit that it does excite and amuse me when I see someone use ancient greek terms.

 

 

Since I lack the time to go out on the streets to do a proper book survey on the topic I´m just going to go ahead and grace you with my own personal observations regarding books, book sets and authors who beat the living daylights out of a story by stretching them into a 10 book series ( Oops, apologies for the passion I unleashed in that last sentence ).

For a reader, books and their series sizes are clearly a matter of preference. Some readers love when a story, written by their favorite author, never seems to find an end and some readers are delighted when a story stops after 3 books. It´s a split audience where no one wins or loses. There is no better or worse, right? Hmm…maybe.

For me… I´m not a fan of anything that´s blown out of proportion. I´m the type that´s totally fine with a story that finds an ending… and it stays that way.

For example: When I see a book I like and also see that it´s a standalone… I´ll not hesitate and buy it. But when I see it´s a book #1 then I feel a wave of disappointment wash over me.

  1. because it´ll usually take a year´s wait until a book #2 releases ( unless we´re talking Game of Thrones. I´ve lost all hope for the next GoT to ever be published in this century )
  2. because I have to invest more time in a story than intended.

Don´t get me started when I see a book #5. That makes me wanna cry on the spot.

Mind you, duets and trilogies aren´t off putting for me… I actually love a good ongoing story- As long as it´s well balanced and doesn´t give me the feeling of wanting to curse it to hell for not being in a single book instead of 3.

What would you think if I told you that standalones and series only work for certain genres? Okay, not really shocking news but it´s true. I´m a contemp. romance reader. Standalones are more common in the romance genre. Once in a while a trilogy trend will fly through and then us romance readers will be presented with the good ´ol standalones again.  Fantasy / Paranormal stories work differently.

A fantasy author faces world and character creations on a deeper level. It would be nearly impossible to stuff a well crafted idea into one single book and call it a day.

This is when book trilogies are born. Fantasy stories need space. They need to unfold and help a reader understand certain events. Most fantasy novels have a minimum of 3 books.

If a contemporary romance author publishes a romance trilogy then it´s usually a story that can be edited into a standalone or a duet. Because there´s no world creation. There´s only repetitive events until a climax is reached and the story ends. A contemp. romance author has to come up with one hell of a brilliant story to make it into a trilogy or else it´s just a waste of paper. What many contemp. romance author´s love to do is attach novellas to their stories ( to a standalone or series ). Something like a book # 1.5 and # 3.5. These are usually additional story info that´s not mandatory for the story itself. May this be for the dedicated fans that have been asking for MORE or the author wasn´t able to let go and move on…. some authors feel their characters need a Christmas special, an Easter hunt edition, or whatever, when there´s actually no need to continue a well ended story.

I might be shot for using this example but I´m going to risk it anyways.

For instance  – The Twilight Saga by author Stephanie Meyer.

Fantasy/Paranormal / Romance. 4 main books. ( not including exclusive fan material )

For fans of the series the author has graciously published a hardcover novella, dedicated to one of the sub characters, called `The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner` book #3.5. Then, a little over a decade later the author presents the book world with `Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined` book # 1.75.

Were the added stories necessary? Probably not. For some die-hard Twilight fans, maybe. But to publish an almost identical story to the one that was published a decade earlier… That´s just kicking a dead horse. Looking for the payoff of a joke that´s long vanished around  the corner. Milking the cow  But hey…. as long as there´s a book # 1.75 and a book # 3.5 then all is good.

 

 

Then there are authors who don´t know when to call it quits with their stories. Let´s take a closer look at J. R. Ward´s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. A very popular 16 ( and growing ) book series that´s left it´s safe haven after book #10. Maybe even earlier.

Elite vampires fighting against evil, all while having beautiful raunchy sex in between shower and nap time breaks. I flipping loved those books until…. they went off course.

And here´s the problem: I ( incl. many other fans of the series ) love the original BDB. But with each new book more sub characters were introduced and the author felt those characters needed their own books as well. Before readers knew it, the story drifted away and focused on the new instead of sticking with the old.

For me- This is a clear sign for the author to move on. Create a new series. Say bye-bye to the BDB. But the author keeps going and going and going. The magic is gone and I´m not interested anymore. Especially not when a series has 16 + books.

And while we´re doing book mentions here… let´s throw Outlander in the mix, shall we?

A time – travel romance set in 1945 and 1743, by author Diana Gabaldon. This epic story will pull the socks right off of any readers feet with it´s historical accuracy and amazing characters. That is…. until the story becomes exhausting. That happens around book 5 or 6. Too many added characters, too much history, too much of everything and that makes this difficult to enjoy the books. A series with 8 books and I lost patience after book #5. Now I´m just waiting for the story to end.

 

Of course, I understand that authors have ideas and stories they need to tell. Some of those stories need lots of attention. Some of those ideas need to be put down on paper. I get that and would never prevent an author from doing their thing.

It´s just that often ( if not always ) overly large series are unnecessary. Trilogies are unnecessary. Book #2.5,  # 3.75, and even book # 0.75 is totally unnecessary.

(These are just my humble thoughts on the subject. I´d love to meet someone who thinks otherwise, just to show me the beauty of the flip side.)

Adding books to a perfectly completed standalone, duet, trilogy does not make a story greater than it already is. Unless you´re a die – hard fan and can´t get enough of said story…. then I´m more than happy you´re happy.

So, if anyone´s interested…. I´m this type of reader:

Love standalones. Enjoy duets. Like trilogies. Dislike anything that has more than 4+ book in a series. Hate added novellas.

 

 

What are your thoughts on Standalones, duets and Co.? Do you enjoy reading large series or do you ignore them? Let´s chat. ❤


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