Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year Everyone!

I'm not big on making New Years' resolutions. They're always a bit too grandiose and out of reach. Completely unrealistic. Like I'm going to wake up suddenly *different* one morning and be this perfect person. Change takes work, and since it requires consistency day after day after day whether you "feel" like it or not. It is always easier to put it off, push it aside, say you'll make the effort next week or next month. But concrete goals are a different matter. I'm not saying that I don't want to achieve loftier goals for the new year. But I'd rather have a few realistic ones than a long list of dreams and wishes.

I'm happy with how things are at Becky's Book Reviews. I like the structure of having interviews on Mondays and Travel-the-World features on Wednesdays. I like having reviews at all times in between. I like participating in the occasional meme. And I do enjoy posting the occasional youtube video. :) You need to insert a little fun into your life now and then. And those seemingly off-topic posts do just that for me.

But I would like to see more structure and polish at two of my other sites. Young Readers is a blog I created for reviewing books for those aged 0 to 9. But my philosophy has been, review what you want, when you want. I might post six reviews in one or two days...but then not post again for two weeks. I would *love* to commit to seven reviews a week. But, I'm realistic as well. I'd be happy to commit to five reviews a week. But even with five as my target goal, I'm unsure how quickly this change will come about. I need to change my thinking. I know that good things are possible. I just have to *want* it badly enough to work for it.

I would also like to see more structure at my Christian site, Becky's Christian Reviews. I am semi-ashamed of this one. I had high hopes of being wonder-woman. A woman who could review a new young adult book each and every day. WHILE also reading Christian fiction or nonfiction for review. It was a laughable scheme in some ways. I still want to make a success of it. But the truth is, I'm not sure how to redeem it. In the summer, I set a goal of reading 5 to 7 young adult books a week, and 2-3 Christian books a week. I would *like* to commit to that for this new year as well. BUT I'm hesitating a bit. I don't know how realistic it is in the long-term. So my perhaps realistic goal--maybe--is to read 8 Christian books a month. Given the month, that would equal one and a half books a week. (Some months it might be closer to two books a week.) That seems more feasible. But it might still be a stretch. Still, I'm willing to give it a try.

My non-blogging goals (yes, I have those too!) include the unrealistic goal or expectation that I would actually listen to the podcasts I download each day. I am subscribed, currently, to twelve podcasts. Five of the twelve only update once a week, but seven post new episodes five days a week. They vary in length from thirteen minutes to thirty minutes. I've been "listening" to some of these for several years. But I average listening to maybe 2 to 5% of what I actually download. Which is just sad.

Another goal I have for the new year is to read the Bible. I'm not going to blog about it. I'm not going to turn Becky's Book Reviews into a religious site or anything. I keep my spiritual life private and off limits. I feel my blogging influences my spiritual life more than my spiritual life influences my blogging. Since I've started blogging, I've read and prayed less and less and less and less. I have minute by minute, day by day, perhaps without making a deliberate, firm decision sacrificed my private time for devotions and instead devoted my time to reading books for review. So I'd like to change that. I'd like to make God a priority again. I still plan on reading books full-time. But I'd like to change my life--perhaps reduce TV time if I must--so that I can have twenty or thirty minutes of devotions each day as well. I've never struggled finding time to do the things I want--reading books or watch tv or listening to music--yet I make excuses about not having time for God. I need to change, transform, my thinking on this one. I think I'd be happier if I did.

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

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