Sunday, September 16, 2012

Meet the Contributor: Shanon! + GIVEAWAY!!

It has been KILLING me keeping this in for the past month it has been in the works - I'm SO so pleased to have a contributor come on board at Ashley Loves Books. Even before I started working full time again and got lost in that time suck, I was thinking that I wanted a guest reviewer to join me - it's invigorating to have another opinion and entire other presence on a blog. And trust me, who I've got? She's incredible.
Say hi to Shanon!
Shanon's been one of my best friends for seems like forever because I'm fairly convinced we're soul sisters on so many levels, but still. Officially, we met in high school...sophomore year, I think? Maybe? All I know is, she made high school a better place. She's whip-smart, well-read, has creativity oozing out her ears, and is hilariously sarcastic in all the best ways. Unfortunately we haven't seen each other since 2005 when we graduated high school (aw crap I just dated us...) - she currently lives in Texas and I'm still in California - but not a day goes by I don't miss her presence or think about her.

And now I get to call her an official contributor to my blog! She'll be adding her awesome reviews, maybe taking on a meme or'll be a ton of fun, I promise :) For now, how about a little interview to get to know her better? Make sure you leave a comment to welcome her, and help me marvel in what fabulous bookish taste she has!

Let’s start with the usual: briefly introduce yourself!
I’m an eternal student. I love to learn about new things and usually at random. That makes for great reading and an advisory plan that will never get me out of college. Books are my sanctuary and I’m probably a born librarian in the wrong field…should probably correct that. ..

Tell us something surprising about yourself.
Mokrah! (If you get it, you know…if you don’t…google it. ;) [Ashley's note: I had to google it...]

What’s your earliest bookish memory?
Reading Dr. Seuss during an asthma breathing treatment in my parent’s old recliner. Couldn’t have been more than three.

What’s your favourite bookish memory?
Reading in the grocery store while my mom would shop. I’m terrible at grocery shopping; actually, I’m not leisurely strolling while I shop. My mom used to page me at the checkout with the cutest cashier she could find. That only started being funny now…10 to 12 years later. She knew where I was!

What type of books do you mainly read? (YA, sci fi, classics, Middle Grade, anything!)
I read a lot of sci-fi, fantasy and a fair amount of YA. Not so much into MG but I am an unashamed historical romance junkie…bring on the wooing!

Why do you read YA books?
Because they are honest and memory is fickle. Everything you felt at that age was magnified and on an extreme. Sarah kissed someone?! World-changing. Tommy was a jerk? You’ll hate that guy until you’re thirty. Those are the most real experiences I think we have and I think they can be undervalued in the rush to grow up. (Growing up includes things such as: car payments, student loan bills and jury duty…what were we in a hurry for again?)

Describe to (or show!) us your usual reading spot!
My office! Two desktop monitors, a HUGE tea cup that says “Keep Calm and Drink More Tea”, an unfinished baby blanket, a usually ringing phone…and three tall cabinets…mostly filled with books.

Have you ever met any authors? Do you have a favourite encounter?
I haven’t! It’s shameful to me now that I lived in San Diego and NEVER WENT to CC. *shame!* However…while working for A Certain Coffee Company, I did get to make coffee for Sheryl Crow and meet Alan Tudyk (again, if you don’t know…ASK SOMEBODY)!

What are your feelings on e-readers vs. print books? 
I used to be a print book snob. Hands down e-readers were for philistines. You missed out on sweet, glorious book smell…and who would trade in for that? Apparently I would, partially. My boyfriend bought me a Nook Color for my birthday a couple of years back…and my heart, life and paycheck were substantially altered. Holy Wombats Batman! Instant gratification with books! So now, I’m usually wandering about armed with a Nook and a few purse books. And my doctor said my shoulders should be recovering from book bend quite nicely.

How do you feel about insta-love in books? Hate it? Love it? Neutral?
I believe in insta-like. Insta-love is too immediate to be so real. That deep, abiding “I will not be like that heifer Rose and I will move over on the door the size of Montana so you can LIVE” love? That takes time to develop.

Thoughts on book-to-movie adaptations?
So torn. The books are always better, the movies can be close adaptations and when done with faithful casting and endings (I’m looking at you My Sister’s Keeper…WTF) can be enjoyable. An example: I’m thrilled for Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series being optioned for TV. I am horrified to think that with some serious miscasting and editing for TV…this could be a gigantic mess and that would be devastating.

We have to know…50 Shades of Grey. Did you go there?
Yeah. I did. In the original…yes, I know. I know! I was thoroughly amused (never shocked, oddly enough) by the story and appalled by the amount of red pen it would take for me to edit it properly. Dear Ms. James- get a damn thesaurus!

What’s one book you thought you’d love, but didn’t in the end? What about one you weren’t too keen on, but ended up loving?
> I thought I would love Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. The premise was interesting and my boyfriend, not much of a reader, recommended it. I figured it had to be awesome for him to be so interested in books that increased a la Harry Potter. HOWEVER. I’ve slogged my way through seven books and got to the last paragraph. I read it…blinked…read it again and heaved it across the room.
> I picked up Code Name: Verity under a bout of coverlust. It was so intriguing that I had to buy it. (Yes, I am one of those people). I wasn’t sure I would like it and initially the format of the story took me a few pages to wrap my head around. That book changed the way I think about friendship and that’s really all I can tell you without spoiling too much.

What’s one book you’re ashamed to say you haven’t read yet?
I haven’t read The Book Thief. STOP THROWING THINGS AT ME! *ducks and weaves* [Ashley's note: don't worry Shanon, I haven't either! Maybe I shouldn't admit that, people will shun the blog...]

What’s your reading pet peeves? 
There is a difference between what they’re doing and what their punishment will be.

Though we know nothing in life is better than reading (haha…not joking.), what are some of your other non-bookish interests?
Writing and playing music. Camping. Singing loudly in my car. Dancing around my house. Movie marathons, road trips and eye makeup.

Flash answer section!
Favourite genre? fantasy
Favourite recent read? Entwined
Favourite childhood book? Anne of Green Gables
Favourite word? Ameliorate
Favourite YA series? Jessica Darling!
Current book boyfriend? Marcus Flutie, always. (Seriously, my girlfriend and I tallied it up and aside from their first…encounter…I’m pretty much dating MF.)
Current read? Croak by Gina DaMico
Next read? Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Book you always recommend? The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss and Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Go-To Comfort Read? The Wise Man’s Fear by Rothfuss. It’s like sliding into a bath that’s slightly too hot. By the time you’re all the way in…you couldn’t imagine anything better. And that paper…it’s like reading on silk.

Best of 2012:
Favourite book cover? Entwined by Heather Dixon is so gorgeous.
Least favourite book cover? Storm by Brigid Kemmerer…I was entertained by the story…but the cover looks like a bad boy band album…
Favourite secondary character? Bramble from Entwined. How can you not love someone with these words to her credit? “‘Down with tyranny!’ Bramble cried. ‘Aristocracy! Autocracy! Monocracy! Other ocracy things! You are outnumbered, sir! Surrender!’”

And lastly…your favourite quote from a book:
“It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend.” Code Name: Verity p.55
Did I not tell you she's FANTASTIC?! Seamless Titanic reference worked in, Code Name Verity, Jessica Darling, and admitting to 50 Shades? Sorry, fellow bloggers - she's all mine. Shanon's got some great reviews and content coming up, but for now, leave her some love in the comments, and get ready for ALL THE AWESOME. (On a technical note, please excuse any messes that may occur as we try to work out this contributor thing!)
Oh right, I mentioned a giveaway, didn't I? Well, I'm so damn excited to have Shanon here, I thought I'd celebrate by giving away a book she's mentioned!
And it's international!
If The Book Depository ships to you, you are free to enter! (Not sure if it does? Check here!)

The winner can choose ONE (1) of the following books:
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty (or any of the others in the Jessica Darling series)
Code Name: Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Entwined by Heather Dixon
Storm by Brigid Kemmerer

This'll be a quick one, as it ends on October 7!
If the winner is US, the book will ship from Amazon, BN, or TBD, depending on what's cheapest (hey, I'm excited but I'm still broke!); and if it's an International winner, it will come from TBD.
Please read my giveaway policy before entering, and as always
may the odds be ever in your favour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Carina OlsenSeptember 17, 2012 at 12:09 AM

    I love those flash questions/answers! :D they are so fun. <3 Also agree about faovirte cover being Entwined. It is so perfect. <3 Sigh. Adore that book :D Thank you both for this amazing post :D Shannon seems awesome ;) Welcome :D
    I would choose Code Name Verity. <3
    Love, Carina

  2. RebeccaSeptember 17, 2012 at 1:35 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. RebeccaSeptember 17, 2012 at 1:38 AM

    What an awesome interview and now that I've read it, I completely agree with you that Shanon is amazing!

    I especially love her answer to Why do you read YA books? It's always so interesting to hear what YA means to other readers, especially those who have tried Adult and ventured back to the world of YA. And her response to insta-love in books? YES. YES. YES. I believe in insta-like, too! *hi5*

    Don't worry, I haven't read The Book Thief either (and I'm Aussie) but I want to very badly! We really must get round to it soon ;D

    It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend. - Oh my, this quote is gorgeous. I haven't read Code Name Verity yet but I won it in a giveaway so hopefully it should be arriving soon.

    Wow...and a giveaway to wrap up this amazing post/interview? We sure are spoilt! I would LOVE to win The Book Thief; it's been on my mind a lot recently, it's by an Australian author, it sounds amazing and I've only heard amazing things about it? YES PLEASE.

    *waves* Nice to meet you Shanon! Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging :D

  4. AnonymousSeptember 17, 2012 at 8:15 AM

    Agreed with a lot of what Shanon had to say, especially in regards to book-to-movie adaptations and the whole insta-love situation. Great interview! So great of you to have a giveaway, especially with such awesome books! I would have a hard time choosing between The Book Thief, which I hear is a great book and Sloppy Firsts, which I read quite a while back and absolutely loved it, especially Jessica's quick wit and sarcasm.

    1. RimaOctober 7, 2012 at 5:21 PM

      Sorry, just noticed I posted under Anonymous. My bad.

  • MonaSeptember 17, 2012 at 8:20 AM

    Hello Sharon :) I'm also torn about book-to-film adaptations. I've seen several and, for the most part, they can't compare with the book. Although difficult, I've since learned to enjoy the film on its own merit.

    Book-to-movie I liked:
    . The Deep End of the Ocean
    . The Bridges of Madison County
    . The Namesake

    I would love to win Sloppy Firsts.
    Thanks Ashley :)

  • UnknownSeptember 17, 2012 at 8:31 AM

    Id love to win entwined!! N awesome answers. I have never read thief as well. Heard good things about it though. Also entwined does have a beautiful cover. ^_^

  • Sierra AbramsSeptember 17, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    Ummmm I love her. So, yah. Seriously, though. She served coffee to Alan Tudyk (Pain! Lots of Pain!), and she loved "Code Name Verity" and loved it, and she hasn't read "The Book Thief" (me either! Let's be outcasts together!), and she loved "Entwined" (one of my favorites!), and, well, she just sounds fantastically awesome. Plus, if Ashley loves her, I love her. SO.

    WELCOME SHANON!! :D so excited to read your reviews and memes and such!! :D And thanks for the aweeeesome giveaway! :D I'd choose either "Storm" or "Code Name Verity". But we'll see... ;)

    Sierra @ Yearning to Read

  • UnknownSeptember 17, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    I'm not a big fan of the book to film either. The books are ALWAYS better. I'd love to win Entwined. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • ElliceSeptember 17, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    I tried to read The Book Thief. I'm ashamed to admit that I just couldn't get into it. It ended up being a DNF for me. I know a lot of people who love it; I seem to be in the minority!

    I would definitely choose Sloppy Firsts. I have been hearing great things about the series and have had it on my list of books to buy for a while! Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Carl ScottSeptember 17, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Well a big welcome to Shanon to begin with. Way to keep your secret for literally weeks, tough job that. For a book, I'd pick Code Name Verity unless I change my mind, then, maybe I should read The Book Thief. Then at least somebody will have. Ha!

  • Oh! Paper PagesSeptember 17, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Welcome, Shanon! I am so excited to read your posts. I also adore Anne of Green Gables. "There's so much scope for the imagination" is one of my favorite lines. I haven't finished the series yet and this interview has reminded me that I need to get going on it!

    If I win, I will select The Book Thief. By the way, Ashley, "hey, I'm excited but I'm still broke!" made me laugh out loud.

  • Alyssa SusannaSeptember 17, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    Welcome welcome! Thank you for contributing! I love it when a new person enters the blogosphere :)
    THANK YOU for being a grammar geek like me - the whol "they're", "their", and "there" thing kills me every time.

    Welcome again and thank you for the giveaway!

    1. Alyssa SusannaSeptember 17, 2012 at 2:20 PM

      OH, and Entwined lol. LOVE that book.

  • HollieSeptember 17, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Welcome Shanon! I completely agree with what you said about the Storm I can't look at it without making me laugh! And you should both read The Book Thief soon - IT IS AMAZING!!

    I'd have to pick Sloppy Firsts, as I've heard amazing things about the series but am yet to read it. Thank you so much for the giveaway!

  • KatelynSeptember 17, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    Hello Shanon and welcome to the blogging world; we are so excited to have you!!! Ashley, you were right, she sounds like all sorts of awesome :)

  • UnknownSeptember 17, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    I haven't read The Book Thief either. I keep looking at it feeling like I should buy and read it, but somehow always set it back down. Welcome to the blog!

  • Alexa S.September 17, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    Welcome to blogging Shannon! It's going to be an INCREDIBLE experience. I can already tell I'll love your thoughts on books because (a) fellow Harry Potter fan, (b) also have not read The Book Thief, and (c) grew up reading Dr. Seuss (and that's my earliest reading memory too). Hooray!

    If I won, I'd want Sloppy Firsts for sure :)

  • M.A.D.September 17, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    *waves* Hi Shanon!!
    Welcome on board to Ashley loves books :)
    Had to laugh ... I haven't read The Book Thief yet, either ;D
    Guess there's more of us than I thought lol

    Mary DeBorde M.A.D.

  • NatashaSeptember 17, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    Hi Shanon!! I always think that the books are better than the movies and I have not read The Book Thief yet. I would choose Storm if I won. Thanks for the chance to win!

  • UnknownSeptember 19, 2012 at 8:54 AM

    Yay! Welcome Shannon! I seriously adore Ashley and I'm stoked to meet one of her friends.

    Nice Q and A answers. Love Marcus Flutie as well (but Joe Fontaine holds my heart for-evah!) and loved Code Name Verity too ("Kiss me, Hardy!!").

    Confession: I started The Book Thief but didn't finish it before I had to return it to my library. I figure it's there if I feel the urge to return to it one day (so you and Ashley aren't alone:)

    And I haven't read Entwined but feel that I must now that it's praises have been sung (See? You are already doing a bang up job promoting your fave books to readers!)

    I look forward to you reviews and am glad you joined the party and are helping Ashley out:)

  • ErinSeptember 19, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    Welcome Shannon! I'm really looking forward to reading your posts and reviews.

    If I won I'd probably pick Code Name Verity

  • Jolene and FamilySeptember 19, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    Welcome Shannon, so fun getting to know you and can't wait to check out your reviews. BTW, I loved Ann of Green Gables growing up. Thanks for the great giveaway, I would love to win Storm

    Jolene A

  • Texas Book LoverSeptember 20, 2012 at 8:29 AM

    Code Name Verity sounds really good! I am such a series junkie I haven't taken a break from them to read it yet.

    I am far from a perfectionist but I catch little things when I read like the they're and their or taking of the same jacket twice a page a part. It bugs me but not enough to stop reading.

  • fakestephSeptember 21, 2012 at 7:48 AM

    YAY! I'm excited for anyone who loves Marcus Flutie. Seriously, I was obsessed with those books. They are why I started journaling and my first two journals are mostly about Marcus...

  • AnonymousSeptember 21, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    I'd choose Sloppy Firsts. I've already read Code Name Verity, and it is awesome!!

  • Lynn K.September 22, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    Ah Sharon, I would love to chat with you in read life. I feel the same about insta-love in books, liking/having a good impression of someone is perfectly believable but declaring love after just knowing them for what, 2 days? *shakes head* Unless it's written in a way that's believable...but in most books it doesn't.
    Haven't read The Book Thief either, but I recently got myself a copy so I'd go with Code Name Verity for this.

  • A Soccer Mom's Book BlogSeptember 23, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    Welcome to the Blog world. Alot of doors will open for you and you will meet some amazing authors, editors, publicists, and other bloggers. Good Luck and Have fun!

  • Mel@ThedailyprophecySeptember 24, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    Insta-like, that's actually a very good word! I think I like that too, because I believe in attraction when you meet for the first time. Welcome to the blog world, it's a great community :D

  • Sarah ElizabethSeptember 26, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    I never thought I'd use an ereader either until I got bought a kindle, now I don't go anywhere without it! I haven't read entwined yet so I would love to win a copy, oh, and I haven't read 'the book thief' either!

  • biochemguySeptember 26, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    I was a print purist, and I still definitely prefer a nice print book to an eBook, but I am more than willing to read an eBook on my computer now and it is cheaper than its print brethren. I would love to win Storm!

  • CarlaSeptember 27, 2012 at 6:58 AM

    I haven't read Entwined yet but it seems like an intersting story.

    I'd love to get either Storm or The Book Thief.

  • LiliSeptember 29, 2012 at 10:03 AM

    I think the cover of Entwined is gorgeous, too! I've heard nothing but awesome things about it so I think I'm going to check it out.

    The Book Thief is my all time favorite book and I really enjoyed Storm! <3 Amazing taste ;) haha

  • Lacey TSeptember 29, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    Awesome interview! LOL I won't throw things at you Shanon, but you should definitely read The Book Thief soon!
    I'd love to get Storm :)

  • ZemiraSeptember 29, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    I went and checked what was The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss all about and WOW it has almost perfect rating-4.55. I will definitely read it because lately I've been really getting into fantasy.

    I would love to read Code Name Verity. I've been eyeing it on TBD for quite some time but it's just too pricey for my budget.

  • DovileSeptember 30, 2012 at 7:56 AM

    LOL! I think a card to lug my books around with me will be lighter on my purse than a ereader:)

    1. DovileSeptember 30, 2012 at 7:57 AM

      Forgot to mention that I'd choose Storm:)

  • HannahSeptember 30, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    Welcome Shannon! Looks like you have great taste in books and that you'll be a fantastical addition! Can't wait to see what you come up with ! :D I'd pick Code Name Verity! Thanks so much!
    <3 Inky@ Book Haven Extraordinaire

  • Lilian SOctober 1, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    Welcome Sharon. I also prefer book than the film, many film i watch is not cover the attraction that happen in the book.
    I'd love to win Entwined. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • AnonymousOctober 2, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    I love the interview - especially the "why do you read YA" and your favourite bookish memory. That sounds like EXACTLY the sort of thing that my mother would do.
    I'd pick Entwined (such a pretty cover), I love fairytale retellings. Speaking of covers, the Aussie cover of Storm (and Spark, come to that) is MUCH better than the US version. :-)

  • KristiaOctober 4, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Mokrah? I had to google it.. :s
    I share your opinion about insta-like and insta-love.
    Since Sharon's recent favorite read is Entwined if I win I might choose that one (or Spark, its on my TBR list since forever)! I love the cover too :)
    Thank you for the giveaway :)

  • Reading Mind / The Loyal Book October 4, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    Lovely interview! ANd I'm reading the dark tower right now bu after what you said about the ending...not so sure I'll survive all the books!!!code name verity sounds SO good!!!

  • UnknownOctober 5, 2012 at 2:39 AM

    Welcome Shannon! Great interview! I haven’t read The Book Thief myself, should pick it up someday. I haven't read Entwined yet too and I do agree with it has a gorgeous cover, so I would choose it.

  • Lexi EdwardsOctober 6, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    Great interview! (The Book Thief is amazing, btw) and that quote from Entwined totally makes me want to go read the book! Love it! And I'd probably pick Storm (and it does really look like a boy band poster)

  • SpavOctober 6, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    I have to admit that I haven't read The Book Thief either but it's definitely high on my wishlist. Also have The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss on my TBR pile.

    1. SpavOctober 6, 2012 at 3:17 PM

      Forgot to say that I would love to win Storm.

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