Armchair Book Expo 2017: Day 5 – Wrap-Up

 

Welcome to Armchair Book Expo!

This is the eighth annual Armchair Book Expo, and this is EFC’s fourth year participating! We are so excited to take part again this year!

 

Day 5: Wrap-Up

 
We had another great Armchair Book Expo! I still have a lot of blogs and posts to catch up on, but I will get to them all. If you haven’t participated before, you should check it out for next year. It is a wonderful event!

Here are the links to our posts for each day of Armchair BEA! Check out the other blogs and posts!

  1. Introductions
  2. What Do Readers Want?
  3. Dining With the Authors
  4. Giveaways and ISO Books

What was your favorite part of Armchair Book Expo?

Armchair Book Expo 2017: Day 4 – ISO Books and Giveaway

 

Welcome to Armchair Book Expo!

This is the eighth annual Armchair Book Expo, and this is EFC’s fourth year participating! We are so excited to take part again this year!

 

Day 4

ISO Books

 

As readers, we are always looking for our next book to read or a stack to fill our TBR shelves. What book or books would you recommend to EFC? What book or books are you excited to read this summer?

Here is the link-up for the ISO and Giveaway posts!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Armchair Book Expo 2017: Day 3 – Dining With the Authors

 

Welcome to Armchair Book Expo!

This is the eighth annual Armchair Book Expo, and this is EFC’s fourth year participating! We are so excited to take part again this year!

 

Day 3

 

Dining With the Authors

Every year at Book Expo, children and adult authors are featured during breakfast. Who would you dream of enjoying a meal with? Would it be breakfast, lunch, dinner, or simply coffee? What would your meal be? What would you discuss? 

I have lunch with an author (Heather McCoubrey) I work with through my editing services, EFC Services, LLC. We go out regularly–in fact, we are having lunch today!–and have become good friends. (We lucked out that we live close to one another. We didn’t know that when we first started working together, though. LOL) We talk about her latest manuscripts, talk through stories and characters, and we just catch up on life and kids and stuff. I would love to have coffee or a meal with all the authors I have worked with or am currently working with. I think that would be pretty awesome! It would require quite a bit of travel, but I would be okay with that. 😉

 

Scenario: Me, Neil Gaiman, and a coffee I’d be way too fan-girled out to drink.

Me: ZOMGNEILILOVEYOUSOMUCHYOUARESOAWESOMENEVERWHEREDRWHOSTARDUSTALLTHE AWESOMEILOVEYOU!

Neil: *sips coffee* Yes, and I’ve got an accent, too.

 

Who would you like to have a meal with? What would you want to talk about?

 

If you want to check out other posts about Diversity and Dining with Authors, check out the blogs here.

 

Armchair Book Expo 2017: Day 2 – What Do Readers Want?

 

Welcome to Armchair Book Expo!

This is the eighth annual Armchair Book Expo, and this is EFC’s fourth year participating! We are so excited to take part again this year!

 

Day 2

What Do Readers Want?

What makes or breaks a book? How do we rate the books, or determine if it is good literature or a good story? What do we want from an author event? How does diversity representation fit into all of this? 

For me, a good story is one that keeps me reading. If I can’t put the book down or can’t wait until I have the next free chance to read more, then it’s a good read. If it’s a book I can put down, walk away from, and not want/have to pick it up, then for me it’s not a very good story.

As for rating a book, I have many factors that run through my head while I’m trying to choose the star rating. Some of the factors I consider are: Was the book well written? Was the story good? Were the characters developed? Did the story make me feel any emotions? Did I want to read it every free chance I had? Did I like/relate/hate the characters? (I don’t always have to like the characters to like a book. If the story is good, then sometimes my like/dislike of the characters doesn’t matter.) Did I think about the book after I finished reading it? These factors are not all or nothing. They aren’t even mandatory. They are just a few things I think about while writing a review and rating a book.

At EFC, we use a 5-star rating system, but let’s be honest: it’s all a big subjective jumble anyway. I even disagree with myself about book ratings depending on my mood. Sometimes I don’t WANT to read the next great classic novel–I just want a frivolous break from reality that doesn’t make me think too much. Sometimes I want deep, flowing, intense prose. Sometimes not. The books that get the highest ratings from me are, I think, the ones that most closely match the mood I’m in when I read them. I suppose I have a vague rubric for every book–if it’s poorly written or poorly edited, it’s obviously going to lose some stars, but the beautiful thing about art is that you can love it (or hate it) for a pile of different reasons and they’re all valid. Unless you haven’t edited enough, of course. Then: NO STARS FOR YOU!

What about you? What makes a book “good” in your opinion? Do you have factors you consider when rating a book?

Here is the link to the link-up of the participating blogs for What Readers Want and Collaboration.

 

Armchair Book Expo 2017: Day 1 – Introductions

 

Welcome to Armchair Book Expo!

This is the eighth annual Armchair Book Expo, and this is EFC’s fourth year participating! We are so excited to take part again this year!

 

Day 1

Introductions

 For our 2017 event, Armchair BookExpo has decided to change things up and not actually include questions.  Instead, they gave us a list of prompts and asked us to complete a few sentences!

  1. I am . . . a freelance editor, a book blogger, a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom of three.
  2. Currently . . . the weather is beautiful and we have all the windows open in the house.
  3. I love . . . my husband, my kids, and my job!
  4. My favorite . . . food is spaghetti and meatballs. It has been my favorite since I was at least 4 years old.
  5. My least favorite . . . chores are folding laundry, cleaning bathrooms, and dusting.
  6. My current reads . . . P.S. I Like You by Kasie West, Goodnight from London by Jennifer Robson, and Whatever After by E.M. Tippetts.
  7. My summer plans . . . include reading lots of books, working a lot, hanging with my husband and kids, taking the kids to the park, reading with the kids, going to Barnes & Noble with my kids.
  8. My buddy . . . is my husband. He’s my best friend. We actually share a home office, so we get to spend a lot of time together. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
  9. My blog/channel/social media . . . is mostly about books!
  10. The best . . . moments are when my kids hug me and tell me they love me.

 

 

  1. I am . . . a woman, a mother, a ball of emotions.
  2. Currently . . . I’ve plied my children with television (which I’m counting as educational because it’s PBS) so I can write this post.
  3. I love . . . my kids, my husband, trees, lists, mind-numbing match-3 games
  4. My favorite . . . Doctor is Peter Capaldi, hands down.
  5. My least favorite . . . activity is putting laundry away.
  6. My current read . . . Rapture of the Deep  by David Grindberg.
  7. My summer plans . . . finish unpacking from my recent move, figure out how to get rid of carpenter bees, teach my kids to clean the bathrooms.
  8. My buddy . . . is my husband. He’s weird, and awesome, and after ten years we’re still learning new things about each other. Hint: we’ve both been buying hummus because we thought the other liked it. For TEN YEARS. We both hate hummus.
  9. My blog/channel/social media . . . updates usually involve funny things my kids say or do. It helps remind me not to defenestrate them. =)
  10. The best . . . recent moment: my family, all piled on the couch, snuggling under a thousand blankets and giggling. Just because.

 

 

 What about you? How would you answer any of those prompts?

If you want to check out the other participating blogs, here is the link to the Introductions and Best Practices link-up.

 

Armchair BEA 2016 – Day 5: Wrap-Up

ArmchairBEA LogoExample

Welcome to Armchair BEA! This is the seventh annual Armchair BEA, and this is EFC’s third year participating! We are so excited to take part again this year!

 

Day 5: Wrap-Up

 
It was another great year of Armchair BEA! I really enjoy participating, and I love finding new blogs and interacting with the blogging community. We don’t do a lot of discussion posts here at EFC, but Armchair BEA is a great way for us to write some discussion posts and get some ideas for future posts. We will have to do more in the future. What would you like to see us discuss?

Here are the links to the linkys for each day of Armchair BEA! Check out the other blogs and posts!

  1. Introductions and Diversity in Books
  2. Aesthetic Concerns – Books and Blogs
  3. Beyond the Books and Blog
  4. Surviving Fictional Worlds and Giveaways

 

chrissysig melissasig
efchappy

 

Armchair BEA 20106 – Day 4: Surviving Fictional Worlds and Giveaway

ArmchairBEA LogoExample

Welcome to Armchair BEA! This is the seventh annual Armchair BEA, and this is EFC’s third year participating! We are so excited to take part again this year!

 

Day 4: Surviving Fictional Worlds & Giveaways

Today we’ll talk about surviving fictional worlds. We all know that sometimes, the worlds we love in fiction can be dangerous. Which fictional worlds would you want to live in? Which worlds do you never want to dive into? Which worlds are you content to stay behind the glass, so to speak, rather than wishing to dive through the page? And once you get there, what would you do?

I’m a sci/fi fantasy girl (read: big, big nerd), so you’d have trouble keeping me away from places like Narnia and Gallifrey. I’ve recently been fielding random questions from my four-year-old about magic, superpowers, and why we don’t have them in real life, so I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. You can pop me into a world with magic any day of the week (who knows? maybe I live in one now . . .), and I bet my son would gladly come along for the adventure. Hogwarts? Done. Oz? You betcha. Oh, but ain’t no way I’m going to Westeros. You can’t make me.

melissasig
giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

efchappy

Armchair BEA 2016 – Day 3: Beyond the Books and Blog

ArmchairBEA LogoExample

Welcome to Armchair BEA! This is the seventh annual Armchair BEA, and this is EFC’s third year participating! We are so excited to take part again this year!

 

Day 3: Beyond the Books and Blog

Here on Day 3, we are moving our focus beyond the traditional format of the media we consume and create! 

Beyond the traditional form of the novel, what are your favorite alternative forms (graphic novels, audiobooks, webcomics, etc)? Do you have any favorite works within these alternate forms? How do you think the changing format affects the reading experience? 

Our secondary topic, beyond the blog could focus on the ways you engage in talking about books outside of your blog. Do you participate in book clubs, take classes, meticulously maintain your Goodreads profile? Let the world know!

Beyond books and blog. Wow! What a topic!! Looking at the first question, I can honestly say that I do not listen to audiobooks. I’ve tried. I really have, but I can’t seem to stay focused on the story. My mind wanders too much. I even tried to listen while painting, and I found painting my bathroom more interesting. I have read one graphic novel. In fact, I won it last year during Armchair BEA. It was Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash. (You can check out my review here.) I would like to try more graphic novels.

Beyond the blog is a bit easier to answer. I have been a member of a few book clubs. I am currently in my neighborhood’s book club. We have a lot of fun, and I really enjoy talking about books and catching up with my neighbors. The thing I like the most about book clubs is that I often read books that I wouldn’t normally choose. I read a lot of different genres, but it is always great to dive into a book that you may not pick for yourself.

chrissysig

efchappy

 

Armchair BEA 2016 – Day 2: Aesthetic Concerns – Books & Blogs

ArmchairBEA LogoExample

Welcome to Armchair BEA! This is the seventh annual Armchair BEA, and this is EFC’s third year participating! We are so excited to take part again this year!

 

Day 2: Aesthetic Concerns – Books & Blogs

Today is all about aesthetics! The first part of this topic is concerned specifically with the books, the second with our blogs. Here are some guiding questions to get you started!

The Books: How often do you judge a book by its cover? How often are you surprised by what you find? Do you strategize and make sure every book in your series has the same cover design (as far as you are able to) and type? How important is it for the visual art on the outside of the book to match or coordinate with the literature art on the inside?

 The Blog: As a book blogger, in whatever form that takes, branding is important. Your colors, your fonts, your style of review, all of these things come together to make the “brand” of your blog – something that makes your reviews and posts and websites, all your various content, immediately recognizable to the people looking for you. What do you do to create a brand on your site? Do you think about these things?

The Books: 97% of the books I read these days are in some sort of electronic format, so I rarely see the cover until I’m scrolling through at the end for publication info to write my review. I’ll admit I’m sometimes surprised to find a really excellent book with a sub-par cover . . . I suppose I’d prefer just a title page to a clip-art style DIY cover: If I’d seen the covers of the books first, I’d have passed right over them.

I’m reminded of a self-published book I read a few years ago. I won’t mention the title, but it was clear the author didn’t value artwork as much as his prose. Not only was his cover art a shoddy clip-art image printed on a home printer, but he also included a picture of sand in the body of the book. Yes, you read that correctly. No, it wasn’t a picture of the desert. It was honestly, literally a Google-searched picture of SAND.

So yes. Cover art is important. I think the words themselves are MORE important, but I am guilty nonetheless of sometimes judging a book by its cover (and I heartily apologize for the cliche).

The Blog: Chrissy and I are always thinking about branding. Whether it’s the graphics we’ll need for a new feature or simply a new reviewer’s signature, it’s a big part of our blogging. I’d say the biggest struggle we have is finding an appropriate color balance. We love the subtle, pastel colors our designer uses, but we often wonder if we’re not alienating certain readers because our design choices are too, well, feminine. The majority of our readers are indeed female, but without, you know, a marketing division, we don’t know if that’s because more females are interested in our content or because our page design has tiny cartoon versions of us sitting on big pink armchairs.

We’ve been trying to subtly shift our color scheme to a more gender-neutral one. We recently added a new feature with graphics in the same color family but with a warmer tone, but changing over the blog style completely is a huge task, and we’re taking it slowly. We also added our first male reviewer this year, so the changes will keep coming. For the record, though, we’re super glad Jeff hasn’t complained about the pink in his signature graphic. Thanks, Jeff! We’re working on it.

melissasig
efchappy

Armchair BEA 2016 – Day 1: Introductions

ArmchairBEA LogoExample

Welcome to Armchair BEA! This is the seventh annual Armchair BEA, and this is EFC’s third year participating! We are so excited to take part again this year!

 

Day 1: Introductions

 

1.  What is the name you prefer to use?
  • There are two of us posting this year for Armchair BEA: Chrissy and Melissa.
2.  How long have you been a book blogger?
  • Chrissy started EFC in 2011 and Melissa joined in 2012.
3.  Have you participated in ABEA before?
  • YES! EFC participated in 2014 and 2015. We had a blast both years, and we are looking forward to this year.
4.  Do you have a favorite book?
  • Chrissy: the Harry Potter series
  • Melissa: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson
5.  What is your favorite genre and why?
  • Chrissy: Chick lit – Happily ever afters make me smile.
  • Melissa: Fantasy/SciFi – I like to escape reality.
6.  How do you arrange your bookshelves? Is there a rhyme or reason? Or not at all?
  • Chrissy: I arrange my shelves mainly by favorites and genres. The books on the shelves are not in alphabetical order or size or anything like that. It’s my own “system.”
This is a small portion of my bookshelves. =)

This is a small portion of my bookshelves. =)

My favorite shelf. ;-)

My favorite shelf. 😉

A portion of Melissa's shelves.

A portion of Melissa’s shelves.

7.  What book are you most excited for on your TBR?

 

chrissysig melissasig
efchappy