I’m delighted to have Anne Payne as my guest. She’s a book reviewer who writes heartfelt reviews on her lovely blog Stuff and Nonsense II. That makes sense, because she’s a woman with a big heart. I’ve been blessed by her many times.
Anne wears many hats. In addition to avid reader and book reviewer, she’s a busy wife, mother and home educator. She and her husband live in the beautiful Foothills of North Carolina. They have four children and two delightful grandchildren.
When Anne isn’t reading or teaching, she can often be found crafting. She is a scrapbooker and cardmaker who’s taken a recent interest in altered art.
I asked Anne three questions about her reading and review process. After that, you’re in for a treat, because you get to learn three fun things about the woman behind the reviews.
Reading and Reviewing
What led you to start reviewing books on your blog? When did you post your first review? How has the site changed over time, and what can readers expect in the future?
I wanted to be part of a book club. Since I live out in the boonies, and there wasn’t one out here (call me “duh” but I never thought to start my own), I started searching online. I mean, you can find everything else online so why not a book club, right? After many hours of surfing the web, I came across The Book Club Network (YAY!) and joined right up. Then I found out there were free books out there. Free?! So I started entering contests to win those books. I won a lot of books! After awhile, another reviewer that I visited on a regular basis encouraged me to sign up with WaterBrook Multnomah’s Blogging for Books program.
I requested my first book, When Sparrows Fall by Meg Moseley, and posted my review on March 31, 2011. At the time, I was on Blogger because it’s free. They started having some real frustrating issues last spring and summer. If you’re on there you’ll remember. After hearing me complain (yes, I did so loudly), my husband encouraged me to purchase my own domain name and build my own site for book reviewing. That’s a whole other venture that makes me crazy sometimes! I am always changing small things with the site, but I do try to have a little consistency. I’m still finding my niche but hopefully as this year progresses I will be a little more consistent. That’s my main challenge. I mean, I have two blogs now, take care of a fairly large family and must get in my baby holding time 🙂
My friends, Judy & Rebecca, have recently begun contributing reviews so I think that will add some dimension. Plus, Judy is also using it as a personal ministry and offering her books for giveaways. Combining interesting author interviews and giveaways with well written reviews, our goal is to be a blessing to others who are looking for good books to read!
If there’s an aspect of a story you don’t care for, you address it, but you do so in a loving way. How do you balance a reader’s desire for an honest review with your heart for the author of the work?
I’m a firm believer that there is something good to find in any book I’ve chosen to read. I just have to look for it. I try to concentrate on that first then address anything else, while keeping in mind that reviewing is subjective. It’s my opinion. Plain and simple. Someone else may read the book and have a totally different one.
Being a crafter, even though I’m not a great one, I know that when I create something, I have put a part of myself in that piece. When someone doesn’t like it, I’m ok with that, but if they slam it, it hurts. I don’t want to hurt anyone like that, and see no reason to, so I don’t criticize the author’s writing ability. My goal is to only give thoughts on the story itself. The publishing houses have some great guidelines to go by as well, so that helps in structuring my reviews. I also learn from other reviewers.
When and where do you do most of your reading?
Anywhere and everywhere! I always have a book with me, whether it’s a “real” one or a digital one on my Kindle Fire that my husband gave me for Christmas. 🙂 I even stand at the stove and cook while reading. Now that’s a skill!
Three Fun Facts About Anne
I enjoyed reading your post about how your love of McDonald’s led to you meeting the love of your life. When your former burger-building guy takes you out to eat these days, what are some of your top restaurant choices? I’m curious. Is McD’s one of them?
LOL! No, McD’s is not one of them. 🙂 We love Japanese. There’s a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant we frequent that serves some pretty good Spring rolls and Yaki-Soba noodles. Tuesday evening is a regular date night at Atlanta Bread while our boys are at the Civil Air Patrol. I love the time my husband and I spend together no matter where it is, but those nights we enjoy sipping on coffee and sharing a cookie…or two.
Cardmaking. Scrapbooking. Making altered books. Wow! You’re one talented woman. Of all your creations, which are your favorites?
Baby mini albums, hands down! Especially if it’s for a girl…lots of pink and lace and delicate papers! So y’all be praying this new grandbaby is a girl, ok? ’Cause I need a real good excuse to get all my craft supplies back out! Right now they’re in boxes due to a kitchen renovation project, but that’s another story for another time.
If we were to sneak a peek in your purse, what are three things we’d learn about you?
Oh, Keli! You’re a sneaky one with this question (pun intended). Hmmm…what do I want to admit to?
I’m not organized. My oldest son calls my purse “the Abyss!” Even with compartments, everything ends up in the bottom because I’m always in a hurry.
I like pens. Need one? I have standard black, a teal blue, or bright pink. Take your pick.
And even though I love being a grandma, I would probably be categorized as a bad one because I have no pictures of my adorable grandsons in my purse. In my defense, it’s the age of digital. They’re all on my computer!
Anne’s Question for You
What keeps you coming back to a particular blog? Is there anything that will make you stay away? Because…you know…I want to avoid that. 🙂
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Connect with Anne on Goodreads.