Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Feature: Gizmo's Reviews + Giveaway

Last year she read 383 books! No, I did not mistype. That is more than a book a day.

Addiction? Obsession? Passion? Let’s find out. Please welcome Shelley from Gizmo’s Reviews.

Hi Nikki! It's a pleasure to be here! Thanks so much for having me!

The immediate question that comes to mind is how do you find TIME to read this many books? (Please tell me some of them are short stories or at least novellas.) And, secondly, how do you manage to write all the reviews that go with them?

The honest answer to this question is that I've been out of work for a few years and have nothing better to do with my time than read and write. Perhaps, if I was working full time again, I would be reading a great deal less. Or, if my writing WIP really made sense to me and I tried to get it published, things may have worked out differently. My enjoyment of reading found a new kick start when I stopped working.

More than 90 percent of the books I read were full length novels. Yes, that pretty much means I was reading a book a day, sometimes more. There are, of course, some novellas thrown in there for good measure but not that many.

As for the reviews, I am a wee bit behind at the moment after learning about a family members health concern and trying to mentally deal with it which was a struggle. I take copious notes while reading so that I can go back and remember key points and characters as I am reading a novel. This is something I recommend to everyone unless you have perfect memories or write reviews immediately upon finishing your book!

 You read 383 books last year and just as many in 2011 (if I’m not mistaken), any plans to “slow” down in 2013?

You are definitely correct. I read more than 400 books in 2011 which was also my first year of blogging. As for 2013, it all depends on my families health, real life in general, and whether or not I finally get burned out from reading so much.

As of right now, I still have over 70 books scheduled to be read between now and July. If you haven't already guessed, I have an obsession with requesting books from Netgalley & Edelweiss as well as my local library.

What compels you to read a book or more per day? Does it ever feel like a chore – like Book Reading Boot Camp or homework?

I would say that it's from the lack of any real motivation to do anything else, the fact that I've lived alone for years, and the fact that on a normal night, there is absolutely nothing on the TV for me to watch. Also, having a Kindle makes things easier for me to take my reading to the beach, or on the road, or when I have different appointments to attend to. I don't feel as though reading is a chore; at least not yet. Keeping up on the Household itself is the chore!

Biggest pet peeves? (Love triangles, cliff hangers, etc.)

Excellent Question! My biggest pet peeves are: weak and ineffectual heroines who have to rely on a male character to help save them time and time again; Heroines who are "changed" over the course of a series from human into something else because that is "expected" by readers of PNR, and UF series.

I don't mind characters finding out early in a series or book that they are different from everyone else around them. I don't mind that they are "changed" after being attacked and have no choice but to figure out how to live in their new skin. I can handle that. I'm most likely in the minority with this particular fact but I'm okay with that.

Love triangles irk me when they are done poorly or because that's what everyone else is doing these days. If it's done with respect to the characters involved, then I don't complain as much.

Cliffhangers are what they are. Even though I may dislike them, I can see their uses in keeping readers entangled in the story line which then carries over into the next book. I will still complain, moan, and groan, but that is my right as a reader.

Favorite place to read? Favorite reading beverage? 

My favorite place to read is in my recliner usually with my cat sitting alongside me keeping me company.

Favorite beverage(s) are Pepsi, Sweet Tea, and Lemonade. I live in the south people, I love Sweet Tea!

Percentage of ebooks you read vs. paperback?

I would say that as of right now, the percentage of E-Books is much higher than paperbooks/hardbacks. The reason for that is quite simple; the library has come into the 21st century, more publishers are providing E-ARCs than hard copies; and I'm absolutely addicted to my Kindle!

What early influences (Family? Friends? Life? Particular books?) ignited your love of reading?

I would have to say former co-workers who shared their books with me and I them. Book sales where you can get a bag of books for a really cheap price! Life in that I learned about different social outlets where books were being discussed and traded. My mother was a romance novel reader when I was growing up. The rest of us would laugh at her. Now, we all pretty much read different genres and trade books back and forth. It's not unusual for my father to send me a box of books, and I return the favor when I have enough to fill a box. My sister has picked up on reading as well and is a huge fan of vampires (romance) and Dean Koontz. As for particular books, I would say that when I started discovering different authors and their series my interest in reading really grew into an obsession. I found myself making lists of authors, their series and slowly but surely trying to catch up to current releases. To say that I follow A LOT of authors would be a fair assessment.

How many books out of say 300 (or what percent) do you purchase yourself vs. review copies?

Looking back at the books I read, I probably purchased maybe 10-15 percent of the books I read. I received the rest from either my library (big source!) who has really come into the 21st century, publishers who send me books on a monthly basis, because of my Kindle, NetGalley, and Edelweiss.

What are your best sources for review copies? 

Without hesitation or reservation, NetGalley and Edelweiss make up 80 percent of all review copies that I receive. 20 percent are from authors and direct from publishers.

Your review policy is open to self-published authors. What type of books do you love best? Can you name a few of your favorite indie reads to give us an idea of your reading tastes?

I enjoy reading Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Dysopian, Steampunk, and Mysteries. I'm open to reading contemporary, and historical as well. Tim O'Rourke is an independent author whose books go over extremely well with me. I have tremendous respect for indie authors and try to accomodate as many as possible into my schedule when I'm not backed against the wall with release day reviews etc.

Do you have any other obsessions we should know about? ;)

This is going to sound boring, but, I would say my cat is one of my obsessions. He keeps me busy, entertains me on a daily basis, and knows exactly when I'm in the mood, as it were. My other obsession includes watching NCIS, Arrow, and Supernatural.

I'd like to thank Shelley for guesting here today. I don't know about you guys, but I'm Blown Away by the amount of reading she does! (Maybe it's time to up my Goodreads goal. LOL.)

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  1. 383 books is mind-boggling! I only read 81 books last year. This year I've managed to read 18 so far.

    1. 81 is a heck of a lot!

      I did 60 last year and made my goal 75 for 2013. Next year I'm going to aim for 100. :D

  2. I feel ashamed I only read like 52 last year... :(

    1. No frowns, Melyssa!52 books is a book a week! That rocks! You should be proud.

  3. I only read 20 books last year. I have been known to read around 100-150 in years past, though. I'll never read 400 books, that's quite impressive!!! Thanks Nikki and Shelley!

  4. Well I don't know exactly how many books I read last year, but I can say from July to December I read 90 something books. I didn't start counting until I became a blogger. This year I have scheduled to read 150, and right now I am 2 books behind schedule! Guess I better get cracking.

    I don't think I could ever imagine reading 300 let a lone 400 books in one year! I give Shelly some serious mad props!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  5. Gee whiz, you guys. I don't think I've ever read 100 books in one year. That's my new goal! I'm going pretty strong this year so maybe I should up myself from 75 to 100.

    I'm currently at 34 out of 75. Almost halfway and the year isn't half over so maybe I just found some new motivation. :D

  6. I am unsure of an exact number of books read in 2012, but I believe it was over 400. I started my Goodreads challenge for 2012 on 6/19/2012, and I finished with 234 books read on that for that half of the year. <....My 2012 Challenge

    For 2013, I have challenged myself to 250, and I am already up to 144 of that. I am considering raising it to 400 once I get over 200 read. <....My 2013 Challenge

    Let me note that I do NOT care about page counts, so you probably will not be impressed with this selection. I read whatever catches and keeps my attention.

  7. Gosh 383 books is a lot. I read about 151 last year and I plan on reading 170 this year. So far I've read 56 books, but that's with me going to school full time. I've been going none stop for a year now and I can't wait to take the summer off and just....READ. LOL

  8. Oh my goodness, you're all awesome! I don't come close to any of your yearly book totals. I do listen to a lot of audio books, but still not as many as any of you, LOL.

  9. I noticed that once I decided to start a book blog sometimes reading seemed like a chore. Writing the review is definitely work, which explains why I'm so behind on my reviews. Last year I read 37 of 75 books. I challenged myself to read 75 books again this year and I'm already 14 books behind. I love NCIS as well!

  10. My goal for 2013 was to review every book I read. I now have a new appreciation for the time it takes to type up a review after finishing a book. Depending on when I finish I'm not always in the mood. I just want to rate it and move onto the next book. Taking notes helps me for the times I want to go back later and tap out a review.

    I rarely take review copies, I've made a couple exceptions this year, so I'm not under any obligation to review (which is nice), but I try to all the same.

  11. My reading goal for this year is 200 books, but I'm currently about 1 behind on that. I can't even imagine reading double that amount though! I guess I really only read about 3 hours a day and if I wasn't working during the day I could read more. Though I do have kids so I have loads of interruptions. Anyway, that's amazing that you can read that much!