Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday Spotlight - Strange & Random Happenstance

Welcome to another glorious weekend here at my blog. Hope you guys had a great Friday and are ready to meet some new bloggers! Today we have a fun blogger, whose blog I love and who is great at commenting on other blogs.

Elizabeth Lefebvre

Nickname and/or blog name: Strange & Random Happenstance by Miss Eliza (my code regency handle if Mr Darcy is lurking about in the shrubberies)
Blog URL:

Tell me a bit about yourself:
I grew up in a family of publishers and artists. Despite an early hatred of school (being downgraded in art due to "natural ability") and books (please find me anyone who likes My Brother Sam is Dead), I grew up to get a Bachelor of Science in Art and a second in Theatre (painting not acting) from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and am now at MATC getting a degree in Graphic Design with a Certificate in Web Design, so that I can make a living through art. Besides art my real passion is books. I think it is encoded in my DNA or something, my mom is now a librarian after years doing book publishing, editing and layouts, and I'm on the same track, doing a few book covers and layouts as well when time allows. I also know how to hand sew a book's binding and would love to take up bookbinding as yet another hobby (to go with the knitting, the gaming, the watching of miniseries, and yes, that is a hobby, and an endurance hobby if you marathon them). Plus reading as much as I can in my spare time.

When and why did you start your blog?
I had the vague inclination awhile back and got on blogger, but it wasn't until May that I jumped in feet first. No sense hesitating I thought, if I'm going to do this, here I go! But I really also do it for myself. I find that writing a review of a book you've read is a great way to marshal your thoughts and really distill what it is that you admired and what you thought worked or didn't work. Plus with sites like goodreads, I find that my reviews are overly short, sometimes terse and succinct, whereas on my blog I luxuriate in the review more. Plus I do enjoy writing, it's a very great creative outlet, but I've never been one for writing novels, more for criticizing.

What is your blog all about? Any cool features you want to share?
Books of course! With the occasional BBC miniseries or movie review, which I hope will somehow be related to the world of books but sometimes I go all tangential. But the one thing I hope will set me apart from other blogs out there is I'm not going to sugarcoat my reviews. If I book is bad, I will say so, with reasons to back up my opinions. I am not going to be malicious or unkind, I'm going to be truthful. Even some of the best bloggers out there can be drawn into the game of not wanting to hurt someones feelings so they overcompensate with false praise. For my praise you have to be worthy, this blogs special feature is honesty! I also hope, once I get more followers (not to discount you loyal few), to get a few competitions up for books I've reviewed. I also have a Halloween interview with the author Michael Norman to coincide with the release of his new book, The Nearly Departed: Minnesota Ghost Stories and Legends, and hopefully other authors will follow.

Do you have a review system? If you do, would you like to explain it for us?
I am a creature of habit and after about two years on goodreads (check it out if you haven't, AWESOME, and also where I met Kristen, Bookworming's lovely blogger), I have had the rating system ingrained in me so I just decided to stick with what I know. It's a 5 star rating system: ★ didn't like it and or hated it, in fact there might be a no stars coming in the future, I find that's lacking on goodreads, ★★ it was ok, ★★★ liked it, ★★★★ really liked it and ★★★★★ it was amazing, I love it!

How often do you post to your blog? I try to post three times a week because every day seems like overkill and I'd run out of interesting things to say, but anything less then three, it's not really enough. Plus I try to read one book a week so there is one post and I cover new releases of the week on Monday's so there's two, so whatever else I can find to fill in the last post.

Any tips or advice for those starting or thinking about starting a blog?
Look at other people's blogs and really pay attention to what you like and don't like. Don't be afraid to change over time to add or remove features, be willing to adapt. Also if you use a site like blogger, don't be afraid to change it to reflect your personality. I hacked the code so that mine reflects who I am and also so it links in to my personal website.

What are some of your favorite genres and/or books currently?
I love fantasy, young adult or adult. I love love love Terry Pratchett, for the more adult sci-fi fantasy, and Shannon Hale for the more young adult fantasy. Pratchett has a great sense of humor combined with a true grasp of human nature (as well as feline nature, as a cat lover I have to say he gets cats better than any other writer today) while Hale has wonderful characters you relate to, yet set within a fictitious would. But why really limit yourself to any one book subcategory? Other authors who really can't write fast enough for me are Lisa Lutz (humorous mysteries), Lauren Willig (historical romance like the Scarlett Pimpernel), Charlaine Harris (I liked those vampires long before they became mainstream), Louise Rennison (younger, funnier Bridget Jones), the list goes on and on. Also those are only authors still alive, if I were to take into account the classics like Austen and the Brontes, the list just keeps growing.

Contest Alert!
Elizabeth with be holding a contest for a copy of The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory. Check her blog out today for more details!

Thank you to Miss Eliza for coming by and sharing more about her blog! Please head over and check her blog out!

Stay tuned tomorrow to meet another new blogger!

Are you a new blogger too? Or just getting back into the swing of blogging? Do you want to be featured on my blog? Shoot me an email at


  1. Thanks to Kristen for the lovely spotlight, as always, you rock!

  2. I really like this feature! Miss Eliza's blog is wonderful. Thanks for featuring great bloggers.

  3. Great "interview", as always!
    BTW I read yours on Parl-Avenue Princess! You did great!

  4. Heading over to check out her blog now - it sounds fantastic! Thanks!

    By the way, I also read your spotlight on Park Avenue Princess. congrats!

  5. Great interview!
    You just earned yourself a new follower Eliza =)

  6. I love Elizabeth/Miss Eliza's blog! It's so gorgeous, plus she has the most awesome taste in books and her reviews are so well-written. Kristen, you rock for featuring one of my favorite bloggers :-D

  7. I like this person! Book-binding! (I actually considered that as a job, lol)

    Gonna check out her site :)

  8. What a great Spotlight! I wanted to let you know that you are also featured on MY blog this week...just in case any of your followers would like to learn a little bit more about you!

    Plus, Kristen has offered up a copy of ASH by Malinda Lo for a giveaway! So, stop over and learn about your favorite blogger!

    Thanks for being part of My "Saturday Spotlight" Kristen!

    Miss Eliza! Wonderful Job and Super-cute blog!

    x0xx Amy (Park-Avenue Princess)

  9. What a terrific interview! Elizabeth sounds smart and funny --definitely someone I'd like. ;-)

  10. Another great Spotlight. Thanks Kristen!

  11. Nice spotlight, going to check her blog right now.

  12. Awesome! I completely agree with her about negative reviews. I can be incredibly harsh (especially to Stephenie Meyer), but reviews aren't about sugarcoating, it's about making your opinion known! Love her header.

  13. I love that she says her blog is all about honesty and that she will tell the TRUTH about the book she is reviewing. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and should feel free to share it truthfully! :)

  14. I like her review policy--honesty IS the best way to go. Love the name of the blog too; very catchy.

  15. I love the name of the blog! It's so fun and quirky! Off to check it out!

  16. Ooh I already follow this blog. Awesome choice for a spotlight! =]

  17. She sounds like an awesome person. Going to check out her blog now. Thanks for sharing another great blogger.

  18. I really enjoyed this. She sounds really down to earth and genuine. I also find that her answers sound quite intelligent, or she really thought about them before she gave an answer. I'll be checking out her blog.

  19. Thanks for the spotlight. This always helps me find new bloggers.

  20. Another great blog that I was totally unaware of. I loved her answer to how she was going to review a book.


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