BBAW: New Treasure-Interview Swap With Jennifer

BBAW (Book Blogger Appreciation Week) has begun!  The second day consists of  the New Treasure-Interview Swap.

Welcome Jennifer from Snapshot to Rundpinne!

Tell me a little about yourself and your blog?

I live in Connecticut with my husband, 6-year-old son, and 12-year-old daughter. All of us read, although saying my son loves to read would be a stretch. We’re still working on him. I’ve been blogging at Snapshot for over 4 years. Two years ago I started the 5 Minutes for Books site, which is a team blog.

When I first starting blogging, the kidlit blogging community was one of the ones I enjoyed following, so I started blogging about books. Now I still blog about the books that the kids and I are reading on my personal blog, but the bulk of my reviews are on 5 Minutes for Books.

I always enjoyed reading. I was one of those kids who always had a book in her hand, I read all the way through high school and college (where I majored in English). After I entered the “real world,” my reading slowed down some, but blogging and specifically joining Callapidder Days Fall Into Reading Challenge back in 2006 when I really picked up that beloved past time.

How do you fit reading in? Do you schedule what you will read in advance or take it a day at a time?

I fit in reading, because I love to read. I read in the evenings while my husband watches sports, and I read on the back deck on a sunny day. I don’t need an excuse to read. I also enjoy audiobooks and listen to one to three a month, while driving or cleaning house.

Without thinking what is your favourite book?

I really don’t have an all-time favorite, so if I were to say without thinking, recent books would come to mind, such as Shilpa Gowda’s Secret Daughter or Justin Kramon’s Finny (linked to my reviews). They will always be on the short list of books I rate with 5 Stars, but I’m sure if you ask me in 6 months what my favorite book is, it would be a book I’ve read more recently.

What is the first book that really took your breath away?

Again, I have a short memory when it comes to books. A book that just sucked me in from the beginning and then left me speechless at the end was Thrity Umrigar’s The Weight of Heaven. I had to sit down and write the review as soon as I finished it, and even then I started it off with “I just finished this book, and I’m speechless.”

What are a couple of books that you’ve enjoyed that show the diversity of your reading preferences?

I’ve been reading a lot of Young Adult literature lately, and really enjoying it. I just “met” John Green through his book An Abundance of Katherines, and though I’m not a high school kid, and even when I was in high school, I wasn’t like most of the kids portrayed in YA books, there’s something in these stories that resonate with me. I enjoy well-written non-fiction such as Searching for Whitopia, but I’m also drawn to traditional women’s fiction by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner.

What do you look for in a book review? What do you not like to see in a book review?

I don’t like heavy plot summary, because I like to go into a book not knowing much about it. I think that a book review shouldn’t be literary criticism (as the NY Times seems to think it should be). That’s fine for book clubs, but the reviews I like are ones that tell me what the reviewer liked about it, and how she connected with it.

Do you rate books when you review them? If so how do you decide the rating?

I don’t rate them on the blog (except we do designate our “5 Star Reads,”), but I post reviews on amazon as well, where I have to rate them. For me, a 5-Star read is one that really affected me, that I enjoyed, and that I connected with. 4-Stars is highly recommended. 3-Stars is okay – I enjoyed it, but might not have loved it for one reason or another, though someone else might. 2-Stars are books that I would not recommend, and weren’t really worth my time, and 1-Star is a book I really wish I hadn’t read at all.

Point us to one of your very favorite reviews (that you wrote):

I’ve linked to several reviews above, and I think that they show my reviewing style, and in most of them I reviewed them in the way that I like to read reviews.

Head over to Snapshot to read the interview Jennifer did with me.


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Book Review: Naked In Eden by Robin Easton


Title: Naked In Eden: My Adventure and Awakening in the Australian Rainforest
Author: Robin Easton
Publisher: HCI; 1 edition
Publication Date: September 1, 2010
Hardcover: 264 pages
ISBN: 978-0757315121
Genre: Memoir

From the Publisher:

Mildly autistic and dangerously disconnected from life, Robin Easton was reborn in the Australian rainforest.

In the deepest recesses of the forest, far from everything that was modern and familiar, Robin and her husband, Ian, pitched camp.  As Robin began to explore her new environment, she searched the ground for the things she feared: snakes, spiders, leeches, scorpions, and ticks. If she wanted to stay alive, she had to be as acutely aware as all the rest of life in the forest.  She had re-entered the food chain and no longer could bungle along unconsciously like she’d done all her life.

Once Robin recognized her own need to survive, she realized that in the web of life no one can afford the luxury of unconsciousness. She began to confront her fear of other species and started to thrive in the rainforest.  Wallabies, birds, and bandicoots befriended her, and her bare feet and sun-kissed body shared paths with foot-long centipedes, leeches, and deadly snakes.  By stripping off all the baggage of Western insulated life, and plunging naked into the wild in every sense, Robin found healing. In doing so, she recaptured her birthright–and ours–and reclaimed her place as a part of the collective expression of life. Her moving journey will help others reestablish their forgotten connection to the natural world, allowing them to survive and then thrive in relationship with the earth. In a time when our own wild voices are becoming as extinct as our wild brethren, Robin shows us that when we remember our own wildness we can value all wilderness.

My Review:

Naked In Eden by Robin Easton is both heart wrenching and life affirming as she tells her story of discovering her fullest potential in the Daintree Rainforest, Australia. Easton shares with the reader, in vivid detail, her experiences living in the Daintree Rainforest and for lack of a better term, her rebirth. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about her adventures and cheered for her when she triumphed and I also felt her pain. Naked In Eden is a complex book combining action and adventure, nature, being one with nature, learning and self-discovery. While Easton’s descriptions are indeed vivid and the reader will have no difficulty imagining them next to Easton, I did not come away from this book hoping to travel to Daintree. Unlike Easton, my fears shall keep me rooted home, safe and secure from the numerous poisonous species (there are a lot!) that live in the Daintree Rainforest (I also require air-conditioning). In all seriousness, Easton and her husband go outside their comfort zone and brave situations that stated above, I could not do. In short, I hold them both in high esteem. Easton learns that she is much more than a label, stronger than she believed possible and a survivor. Naked In Eden is a beautiful book of transformation and growth and one that should not be missed. I recommend Naked In Eden to my readers and believe this book would make a brilliant choice for any discussion group.

About the Author:

At the age of twenty-five Easton walked away from society. She left the United States and went to live with her husband in the remote tropical Daintree Rainforest of Queensland, Australia. One of Robin’s most remarkable rainforest experiences was the gift of music. During her last year in the rainforests of Australia she began to dream beautiful music. When she returned to the United States she sat at a piano and played as if she’d played for ten years.

Unable to read music, Robin has performed and recorded on both the east and west coasts. She’s produced and published her own piano solo album, all from her original dream music.

Robin’s story has been told on an award-winning NBC News affiliate piece, Paul Harvey News, KBLA Radio, KSFR and others. She’s appeared in magazines and newspapers throughout the U.S. and Canada. She blogs at: nakedineden.com.

For more reviews of the book, please follow the book tour.

I received a complimentary copy of Naked In Eden by Robin Easton from TLC Book Tours to be a part of this tour and offer my honest review of the book. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned book.


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Teaser Tuesdays- Pretty Little Things

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

“For just a second he felt ashamed, wondering why it was he thought the things he thought.  But it was too late to get a conscience.”

Page viii, Pretty Little Things by Jilliane Hoffman

What are you reading?

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