Armchair BEA 2015 – Day 4: Giveaway and Book-to-Movie Adaptations

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Book to Movie Adaptions: What books do you want to be made into a movie or television show? What are some of your favorites? We’ll explore more about this topic, especially what works and what doesn’t.  Are there any upcoming shows or movies that you’re excited for? What are your recommendations?

I think book to movie or tv show adaptations can be tricky. There are so many that disappointed me. The one that sticks out in my mind is the Eragon film. The book was so much better than what they were able to create for the silver screen.  Not to mention they changed so many things that the whole film was a train wreck.

Recently, one of my favorite book series has been turned into a television series on STARZ. The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon could not have been done in film form. It’s absolutely the perfect book series to be done for TV. The actors and the costumes are brilliant. I feel like I have been transported in time when I watch it. The writers for the series have been in touch with Diana, which I think is important and have given the fans of the books what they wanted. Sure there are some disappointments I’m sure, but as a lover of the books and a viewer, I have no complaints.

One of the films I am very curious about is The Scorch Trials. It is the second film based on the books by James Dashner. The first film had some differences that I didn’t love and already I can see from the trailer from The Scorch Trials there have been changes. I’m really hoping that they find some way of bringing together the characters and action sequences that I loved from The Scorch Trials. What I also hope is that there is better chemistry between the cast. There were so many times I felt that the interactions were truly awkward during The Maze Runner. And I think that’s the challenge for everyone involved with a film or TV series from a book, you have to find a way to please not only the age group you’re making it for but the avid readers.




It is the end of another wonderful Armchair BEA, and that means it’s time for a giveaway!! I’m giving two prizes–one is a tote bag filled with a few of our favorite reads. (It will be a surprise, but you’ll love it! This one is open to the US only.) The other prize will be a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or $25 in books from the Book Depository if you are an international winner!!!

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Armchair BEA 2015 – Day 3: Character Chatter and Blogging Q&A



Character Chatter-It’s time to give your favorite characters some love! Characters are essential to a story, and they can make or break a book for some readers. Now’s your chance to shine the spotlight on your favorite characters, or maybe your least favorite. Who’s your favorite couple? What are the components of a well-written character? What are you favorite or least favorite cliches associated with characters?

Dear Bad Guy,

Yeah, I know you’ve got an evil plan. I know you’ve spent months, possibly years, of your fictional life plotting, scheming, and scheduling countless nefarious activities, but let’s be honest with each other, shall we? I ALREADY KNOW. I’ve been reading your story now for a couple hundred pages, and I’m not a moron. I’ve picked up on your motivations, your deep-seated emotional scars, your wounded childhood. I know you’re complicated. But listen. I’ve got about ten minutes to sit and read your story before I’ve got to rescue the baby from drowning himself in the toilet, make sure dinner’s on the table, drive the toddler to gymnastics, and make sure my husband’s lucky boxers are clean for his business trip in the morning. I don’t have time for you to rehash your entire evil scheme ten pages before the end of the book. I don’t know for certain, but I’m fairly sure you’re only delaying the inevitable: the hero is going to sneakily untie his restraints and blast you with his ultrasonic save-the-day gun while you’re talking. You’re going to lose, and I’ve got STUFF to do, okay?  So just SHUSH. Please?

Love, Melissa


Blogging Q&A-Blogging 101. All kinds of tips and tricks to get you started or keep you going. Talk about ARCs, reviewing in general, web design, etc.  What blogging platform do you use? How do you network? What are some of your favorite web designs?  Or maybe you want to talk about your own blogging journey, and how you got to where you are now. Either way, we want you to share your knowledge with the rest of the community!

I will not tell you “how to blog” or “the rules of blogging” because there is no right or wrong way to blog, and there are no rules set in stone concerning blogging. (And, yes, there are a few exceptions–don’t plagiarize, and if you use affiliate links or have received a book or product from free in exchange for a review, tell everyone that.) I’ve read a lot of posts over the years that say you must do this, you must do that, you can’t do this, you should never do that. You know what? Your blog is your space. Do what works best for you. (I’ve seen quite a few posts that say that as well.) I can only tell you what worked for us here at EFC.

When I decided to start blogging, I spent a month or so reading other blogs. I read mainly book blogs because I knew I wanted to start a book blog, but I also read mommy blogs, food blogs, life blogs–you get the point. I saw how other blogs were designed, their layouts, the content, you name it. I took it all in and then developed “my” blog and how I wanted it. I started on Blogger because it was free and because I didn’t want to completely commit until I knew I was going to take the blog somewhere. Now, I’m with WordPress, self-hosted, and I haven’t looked back. Over the years, we have added reviewers, features, blog tours, etc., and we have backed away from features, tours, etc. You learn and change as you go. You have to do what works best for you and go for it.

If you have any questions about blogging, or if you want to know more about what we do (or have done) here at EFC, please comment or email or find me on Facebook or Twitter. I would be happy to chat with you about it. I will help in any way I can. That’s one thing I love about this community, most bloggers and authors will help each other out, give advice, or just be there for one another. It’s fantastic.




Armchair BEA 2015 – Day 2: Visual Expressions and Social Media



Visual Expressions–There are so many ways to tell stories. Whether it’s comic books, graphic novels, visual novels, webcomics, etc, there are quite a lot of other mediums to tell a story. On this day, we will be talking about those books and formats that move beyond just words and use other ways to experience a story.

You know what? I’m going to talk about memes. Yeah, I know–there isn’t much writing (or reading) involved, but if you spend enough time on the Internet, you know exactly how a little penguin on a blue background is supposed to make you feel. You know as soon as you see the guy dressed in brown with his hat on backwards that you’re about to read a tidbit about someone being an a**hole. You know the little green square with the dinosaur inside means you’re reading someone’s deep, “philosoraptor-y” thoughts.

Memes aren’t exactly, um, literature, but let’s face it–they’re pretty gosh darn accessible, and even if it’s only a few words, they’re a way people (even non-writers) express themselves through writing. Flash fiction in a .jpeg, anyone? Memes are concise little bites of word and image that prove a familiar picture, and in some cases even just a color, is a powerful method of expression.


Social Media–How do you use social media to expand your blogging/writing horizons?  Social Media is all about networking and connections, and utilizing today’s technology to the fullest.

There are so many different social media outlets–Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Goodreads, to name a few. It’s hard to know which to choose and which to stay active on. For me, I interact the most on Facebook and Twitter. I post my reviews to Goodreads and Pinterest. I also post non-bookish things on Pinterest as well. One thing that I really enjoy on Pinterest is looking at authors’ character boards and other book-related boards. It’s fun to see the inspiration for their stories.

Social media is a must for any blogger or writer. You have to be able to connect with one another. Without it, where will your blog go? Who will find out about your book? What fun would you have? Didn’t you start your blog to chat about books with other bibliophiles? I know that without it, EFC wouldn’t be as popular as it is, and I wouldn’t have the blogger and author friends that I am so close to. And without social media, EFC wouldn’t have the followers whom I love interacting with and chatting about wonderful bookish things.

The bottom line: choose something, get active, and have fun!!!

Please connect with me! I would love to chat!!! Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Goodreads




Armchair BEA 2015 – Day 1: Introductions and Library Love



Introductions: We have to answer a few questions about ourselves to kick off this year’s Armchair BEA!


How long have you been blogging? How did you get into blogging? I have been blogging for almost 4 years. I can’t believe it’s been 4 years; the time has truly flown by. I started blogging because I love to read, obviously, and because I wanted to see what I could do with it. I wanted to see where, if anywhere, it would take me. And, boy, has it taken me places!! 


Why do you love reading and blogging? I have always loved reading, ever since I was young. I love that you can get lost in the pages of book–entering a new world and getting wrapped up in a story. I love blogging because I love to share my thoughts about the books I read. I love it when someone reads a book because I recommended it. I love it when I can get into a “debate” about a book with another book lover. And I love that I have made so many friends from across the country and around the world. It is truly amazing. 


What book are you reading right now? I am reading “The Grown Ups” by Robin Antalek. I should be finished soon.  


What is your theme song? I’ve got a 3-year-old. If Daniel Tiger sings it, so do I (usually nine or ten thousand times a day) :::singing::: “If you have to go potty, STOP, and go right away. . .”

What does diversity mean to you? It means that most of the things we’re worried about aren’t that important. Skin color? Little deal. A boy whose favorite color is pink? So what? A family comprised of two moms or two dads? Meh. Atheism? Feminism? A language <gasp> other than English? NO. BIG. DEAL. We, the human race, have a lot of chilling out to do. Celebrating diversity (and realizing how much energy we’re wasting on trivialities) is a step in the right direction.


What is one book everyone should read? You know what? I don’t care what you read . . . I just really, really hope you do.


Library Love–Librarians are awesome. Not only are they helpful, they’re very fun to talk to and give great recommendations. Show your library some love, and the wonderful men and women that run it. Why is your library fantastic? Got any funny stories? Feature your library on your blog? Do an interview with a librarian?


My children and I are in LOVE with libraries! In fact, we often frequent several different libraries, which each excel at slightly different things. One offers wonderful programs like StoryTime, Parachute Play, Preschool Dance Parties, and Reading to a Therapy Dog. We travel a little farther to experience these awesome programs that promote learning, exploration, and most importantly, FUN! Some of the other libraries have much better children’s book collections, and some are just close to home (best for the times when you can’t stand reading that book ONE MORE TIME and you need a new one to replace it). One of my favorite things about visiting different libraries is that my children get to meet and play with a more diverse group of children and are not stuck in the same socioeconomic station as dictated by where we live. Visiting the library is one of our favorite fun activities, and I know that my children are learning and growing as well as gaining an appreciation for a lifelong love of reading!



Armchair BEA – Day 6: Wrap-Up

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Well, it has been an excellent week here at EFC. We have truly enjoyed participating in Armchair BEA this year. Last year, I was a mere observer. This year, we participated with posts, giveaways, Twitter parties, and so much more. I have found more wonderful blogs and blogging friends because of this event. I can’t wait until next year. (In fact, I’m already thinking about things for next year.)

Here is a recap of posts and links:

Day 1: Introduction and Literature

Day 2: Author Interaction and More Than Just Words

Day 3: Expanding Blogging Horizons and Novellas/Short Stories

Day 4: Giveaways and Beyond the Borders

Day 5: Topic of Choice and Middle Grade/Young Adult

Day 6: Wrap Up

Thank you for an awesome week, Armchair BEA!!! See you next year.




Armchair BEA – Day 5: Middle Grade/Young Adult

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Our final genre of discussion is one that we know is a popular one these days: books for the younger crowd, from middle grade to young adult. If you do not normally talk about this genre on your site, maybe you want to feature books that you remember impacting you during this stage in your life. If this is where you tend to gravitate, maybe you want to list your favorites, make recommendations based on genres, or feature some titles that you are excited to read coming later this year. 

Hi.  I’m Melissa.  I’m thirty-something years old, and I’m an avid reader of YA novels.  I love them – YA Fantasy is my all-time favorite genre – but it tends to make me forget that I’m, well, an ADULT adult.  Yeah.  We’re talking about sex scenes.  I like sex (I think most of us do), but I also like the way YA authors can dance around the subject without, well, getting too graphic.  I like the hints and innuendos and stolen kisses.  I like that I get to use my imagination for the rest.  I like reverting back to my misty-eyed junior high school self and daydreaming about simple, honest romance.

And then I remember I’m married, and I’m a mom, and I have a mortgage, so I open up a book geared towards my own age range.

Adult novels, it turns out, are slightly more straightforward about sex.  I’m not reading romance novels or anything (though there might be one or two hidden under my bed), but I guess the fun part – for me – is getting to use my imagination, and when everything’s all spelled out for me (see what I did there?) I feel like it’s not quite as fun to read.

It’s not just the sex, either – it’s an entire perspective shift.  When did “adult” turn into code for “you don’t have to use your imagination anymore”?  Why do we, as adults, expect not to have to use our brains for anything other than decoding the words on the page?  No wonder reading isn’t fun anymore once you grow up – it’s not the same experience.  It’s not Narnia or Hogwarts or Wonderland – it’s all murders and sex and betrayal.  The joy – the WONDER of reading – is getting to use your imagination.  Hear me, adult authors!  Just because I’m old enough to have a retirement account doesn’t mean I don’t like time-travel and magic and happy endings!

So yeah.  Most of the books on my shelves are written for thirteen-year-olds.  I don’t care.  Reading something that’s already got all the details is news.  Reading something that encourages you to use your imagination – that’s AWESOME (and just for the record, I can imagine some pretty darn cool stuff).




Armchair BEA – Day 4: Giveaways and Beyond the Borders

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It’s time to step outside your comfort zone, outside your borders, or outside of your own country or culture. Tell us about the books that transported you to a different world, taught you about a different culture, and/or helped you step into the shoes of someone different from you. What impacted you the most about this book? What books would you recommend to others who are ready or not ready to step over the line? In essence, let’s start the conversation about diversity and keep it going! 

I tend to get stuck in a genre rut: I can spend months reading nothing but sci-fi/fantasy and not care a bit that I’m neglecting the rest of the books in the universe.  Except that somewhere along the way I started caring about all those other books (and, honestly, I didn’t want to turn into that girl who quotes Dune at parties).  So, to make myself step away from the dystopian-magic-spacey-wacey stuff I added memoirs to the list of books I wanted to review.  I still primarily read my favorite genres, but every once in a while I like to try something different.

I don’t always like the books I’m asked to review, but I DO like reading about other lives – REAL LIVES – that are often quite different than mine.  It’s not some earth-shattering, life-altering, “oh my gosh memoirs changed my life” sort of thing, but it keeps my mind open to new ideas.  I might learn the ins and outs of mountain climbing, or I might follow a single mother on her journey through America.  I might spend some time with a janitor who happens to see ghosts, or perhaps tag along on an actor’s visit with Mother Theresa.  I might not like it, but at least I’m trying something different.

And I might not quote Dune at parties, but I definitely taught my son to walk without rhythm.




Armchair BEA – Day 3: Expanding Blogging Horizons

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What do you think about when you think about going beyond blogging or expanding your horizons? Is it a redesign of your blog? Have you branched out into freelance writing or even published a novel of your very own? Or, have you moved into a different venue like podcasts or vlogging? This is the day to tell us about how you have expanded on blogging in your own unique way. 

When I first started blogging, I told my husband that I wanted to see where it would take me. I loved to read and talk about books. I wanted to see what would happen. I started my blog, and then a few months later, I received my first review request. Then more requests followed. Next, I decided to redesign the blog from the standard Blogger theme to something personal. Lori at Imagination Designs did a fantastic job! I also added another reviewer, Melissa, and then Belinda joined the party. I also decided to move over to a self-hosted WordPress site as well as start a freelance editing and proofreading service. EFC Services, LLC is thriving, and I love editing books. Soon I will be expanding my services as well. This blogging adventure has taken me far, and I can’t wait to see where I go next. I have some ideas in mind.



Armchair BEA – Day 2: Author Interaction and More Than Just Words

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Let’s talk interacting with authors IRL (in real life) or online. This is your opportunity to talk about your favorite author readings that you have attended. Or, you can feature your favorite author fan moment (i.e., an author sent you a tweet or commented on your blog). Maybe you even want to share how your interactions have changed since becoming a blogger or share your own tips that you have learned along the way when interacting with authors as a blogger. 

Melissa: The only authors I typically get to interact with are the self-published, especially those who avoid blog tours and seek out reviews themselves.  I’d like to say I’ve discovered some sort of pattern of communication, but for the most part authors don’t seem to be that interested in much more than superficial chat, at least in my opinion. Chrissy typically handles author interviews and the like, so I’m sure she has much more to say about this than I do, but I’ll tell you this: in the past two years, I’ve only had a handful of authors seek me out after I’ve posted their review. Most of them want to share a selection of their favorite insults, but a few – a rare few actually ask for constructive criticism. I appreciate both – it’s how I know I’m maintaining my integrity as a reviewer – but I’m especially fond of (proud of?) writers who understand that everything is always a work-in-progress, even if it’s the sixth edition.


Chrissy: Unfortunately, I have yet to be able to attend any signings or readings. I hope to do so soon! However, my book group has had the opportunity to meet with the author (Katie Schell) and main character (Ock Soon Lee) of Love Beyond Measure. That was an amazing experience. And we will be doing a Skype discussion with another author next month.

Since I started blogging, I have been following and interacting with authors on Facebook, Twitter, and the blog. Doing interviews has been a lot of fun. Just chatting with them online is awesome. I have a few that I call friends now. I love it when authors take the time to comment on my review or spotlight feature of their book. It shows that they appreciate all of the work, time, and effort that it took to prepare that post.



There are so many mediums that feature more than just words and enhance a story in a multitude of ways. Examples may include graphic novels and comics, audiobooks, or even multimedia novels. On this day, we will be talking about those books and formats that move beyond just the words and use other ways to experience a story. Which books stand out to you in these different formats? 

My sister “reads” almost exclusively via Audible, whereas I prefer either e-books or paper.  We typically aren’t in sync with the books we’re reading, but not long ago we were both neck-deep in The Mistborn Series at the same time.  I’m not a fan of audio books (I like to re-read bits and pieces, and I find it easier to flip a page than use a rewind button), but I’m all for nice long chats with people who are reading the same thing I am, and I don’t care a bit how they accomplish it.  Well, I didn’t *think* I cared . . .

Here’s the thing: audiobooks come with character voices and (usually) author-approved pronunciations.   I won’t give anything away, but let’s just say it’s pretty easy to figure out who the unnamed narrator is when he’s using the same voice as one of the other characters . . .  So, half-way through the series when I tried to have a fun discussion about who we thought the elusive narrator was and why, my dear sister ruined everything with a simple, “Oh, you mean ________?”  <sigh>  We may also have had a heated (and I mean HEATED) discussion about the correct pronunciation of “feruchemy.”   According to the audio book, we’re supposed to place the emphasis on the “chemy” part, but I vehemently disagree.  feruCHEMY?  Really?  Why, audio book, WHY?!? (Chrissy here: I can attest to the fact that it was a VERY HEATED conversation. Funny, to me. Not so much to them. LOL)





Armchair BEA – Day 1: Introductions and Literature

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Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? Where in the world are you blogging from?

Melissa here, blogging from Pittsburgh, PA!  I joined Every Free Chance almost two years ago — not long after I decided to take a break from my career as a Behavior Analyst  to stay home with my son.  Turns out that silly undergraduate degree in English actually *did* help me get a job as a writer (see, Dad?).

Chrissy here, also blogging from Pittsburgh! I started Every Free Chance in October 2011. I love to read and I wanted to do something other than practice family law. Now, almost three years later, EFC is growing and I formed EFC Services, LLC–a freelance proofreading and editing service.

What genre do you read the most? I love to read because ___________________ .

Melissa: I’m a sucker for dystopian stuff – I can’t get enough of it!  I’m also a big, big fan of fantasy.  Hmm . . . I wonder if Dystopian Fantasy is a thing . . .  “Big Brother is watching you cast that spell!”  Oh, man.  That would be awesome!

There are so many reasons I love reading:  I love the patterns in language, the grammar, the way writers can twist and bend words to make them say what they want.  I love to analyze how writers interpret language, to discover their particular quirks, and to let them lead me through their stories they way THEY want them to be told.  Books are tangible proof that we are fighting entropy and we are winning:  writing is a beautiful way to organize the world.

Chrissy: I read chick lit the most. I love happy endings, romance, humor. But that is not all that I read; I also read a lot of YA and general fiction, MG and fantasy.

I love to read because it is an escape. Reading allows me to enter a new world. It amazes me that a book can make you feel so many different emotions. I love it when I am reading a book, and I get so caught up in it that I forget where I am and what I’m doing. I also love it when a book makes me react out loud regardless of where I’m at or what I’m doing.

What does your favorite/ideal reading space look like? (Pinterest encouraged!)

Melissa: No Pinterest necessary!  I love to snuggle into the corner of my couch with the wedding blanket my mom made, a cup of tea or a glass of wine, and my two-year-old snuggling next to me.  He isn’t much for sitting still, but I can’t help but take a break from my own book when he climbs into my lap and tosses a book at me: “Read it Momma, please please please?”

Chrissy: I’m with Melissa on this one, I love to read in my chair with a cup of coffee or glass of wine and have my kids snuggling with me. It’s a great way to enjoy a book and time with the kids. As for an ideal, awesome space, these would be pretty cool:

home libraryreading nook

Share your favorite book or reading related quote.

Melissa: “I like things to be story shaped.”  -Neil Gaiman

What book would you love to see as a movie?

Melissa: I just finished a book called Fury: The Cure #1 by Charlotte McConaghy that would translate well; it’s got enough action and passion to keep watchers interested, and there’s just the right amount of plot for a killer Summer Blockbuster.

Chrissy: I’m not sure, but I would love it if they would re-film the final showdown between Harry and Voldemort and make it exactly as it appears in the book. I think it would be so much more powerful.




 What do you think of when you think of literature? Classics, contemporary, genre, or something else entirely? We are leaving this one up to you to come up with and share the literature that you want to chat about the most. Feel free to share a list of your favorites, break down your favorite genre, feature your favorite authors, and be creative about all things literature in general. 

Literature is writing that uses words as an art form – not just a means of communication.  It’s using alliteration and rhythm and hyperbole and semicolons and turning them into a seamless, cohesive text.  It’s the label we use for that thing people create when they combine imagination and know-how using words.