Today, I have with me a UK blogger who loves YA fiction. Check out Sya and her blog below.
Nickname and/or blog name: Splendibird @ The Mountains of Instead
Blog URL: www.mountainsofinstead.blogspot.com
Tell me a bit about yourself.
I am 31 and live in the far north of the UK with my little daughter, Mila. We live in a tiny cottage that is rapidly becoming filled to the brim with books. I regularly look at my bookshelves and think that I'm going to need a bigger boat. So to speak. In a previous life I studied publishing and had a career in marketing.
When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog in April 2010. I only got into YA fiction after the birth of my daughter (although I have loved Harry Potter long time, it was the buzz around Twilight that drew my interest back to the YA shelves). I was initially a bit ashamed of reading books aimed at teens but on trawling the blogosphere I realized that there were plenty other Adult Young Adults out there and decided to come clean about my reading habits. And boy, am I glad I did! Not only do I have somewhere to discuss books but I am also in contact with so many lovely people - which is a plus when living in aforementioned tiny cottage in the frozen North.
What is your blog all about? Any cool features you want to share?
It's all about book reviews - they really do feature more than any other type of post. As I've built up relationships with publishers and authors I've been able to post some interesting interviews and giveaways as well. However, I have also posted some rants/asides/lectures on a variety of random subjects and have been amazed (and gratified) by the response and I ran a hugely successful Zombie Week in September which was contributed to by bloggers from around the world. It's fun to write lighthearted stuff and I am currently trying to think up more discussion/random topics to write about in the future. Any and all ideas welcome!
What are some of your favorite genres and/or books currently?
I'll read pretty much any genre - for a while I steered clear of contemporary teen stuff, but have really gotten into it recently. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly also helped me conquer my fear of historical genre novels. I really love dystopian fiction and I actually think that some of the finest YA writing out there is in that genre. Since starting blogging my favourite books include The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson and the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness. Recent great finds have been Entangled by Cat Clarke and Delirium by Lauren Oliver. The standard of writing in YA just gets better and better and I'm constantly delighted by new authors - both those who are debuting for the first time or those who are merely new to me.
How do you find out about the books you read?
Mainly from fellow bloggers. I sit down to go through In My Mailbox posts with a pen and notebook each week and note down anything I fancy (a lethal practice - my wish list is stupidly long). I also signed up to get newsletters, catalogues and press releases from publishers and trade journals (like Publisher's Weekly). I have also recently started using Net Galley which is a great way for us UK bloggers to access American review copies.
Any tips or advice for those starting or thinking about starting a blog?
Just do it! I spent a few weeks playing about with designs and writing reviews (to this day I like to have an average of four reviews saved and ready to publish - it means that if I read a book and don't want to review it, I always still have something to post). I also emailed a blogger that I admired (thank you, Carla at The Crooked Shelf!) asking if she had any tips - she was hugely patient, very encouraging and her thoughts really helped a lot. Lastly, I spent a lot of time looking at information posts on sites like The Story Siren and Presenting Lenore. They are experienced bloggers who have plenty of information for newbies on everything from design to etiquette.
Thank you Sya for stopping by my blog today and sharing more about yours!
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