Monday, June 13, 2016

Meet Quest Reviews' New Co-Blogger!

quest reviewsIt's my absolute pleasure to announce that Quest Reviews has a new co-blogger, Sierra! *cue trumpets and streamers and angel choirs*

Sierra and I met on the internet a while back after the launch of the book-lovers' website, Leafmarks. We developed a quick rapport over our mutual love of reading and our startlingly similar tastes in books. Over the years, we've kept in light contact, and I always have such a great time talking books with her.

So, when I started to think about making Quest Reviews a joint operation, my first thought was, I'll ask Sierra if she's interested.  Thanks be, she was! *tosses confetti madly around*

Today, for her big debut, I'm going to ask Sierra a few burning questions.

Hi, Sierra, and welcome to Quest Reviews. To start off, could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Indeed I can! Excuse me, while I haul my cat off my keyboard... *tosses scowling cat off my computer*

Hello everyone! I'm so pleased that Ellen invited me to join her in this wonderful venture and kept the spot open while I took my time to actually find and read her message. You're the best, girl! Now onto me :).

I'm 25, slowly working towards my Accounting and Finance degree while helping out at my local Humane Society as well as their brand new cat cafe. I adore my job. I get to play with all sorts of animals (though I staunchly stay away from our occasional snake), assist in the clinic surgery room, and help our cats and dogs and puppies and kittens find their furr-ever homes. Honestly, it's a miracle that I don't come home with jacket pockets full of fluffy kittens. Maybe it's because I do get the occasional pat-down after my shift ;).

I do have two beautiful animal siblings of my own (as well as my two human ones). My previously mentioned computer-hogging cat is 4-yr old Rani (translation: Queen). I adopted her two months ago and I'm hopelessly in love. Karan (translation: Helper/Companion) is our 6-yr old German Shepherd that we've had since he was a little pup. He is loving, and kind, and always by your side. The two of them don't get along as of yet, but we are hoping that one day they will be able to tolerate each other's presence in the same room. It will be a true hallelujah moment.

The visual image of you getting patted down for kitten stowaways seriously made my day, Sierra. Next question: what has reading meant to you, in your life?

Now that I have exhausted you all with talk of my precious darlings, we can move on to the most important topic, READING!

Reading alleviated my loneliness. I was an only child for the first 12 years of my life and that led to quite a few lonely moments. As children, we are completely dependent upon the whims and actions of our parents. They are our whole world. Reading gave me some measure of control, in a way that I can't fully explain. I could see beyond my parents and my circumstances. It taught me true compassion and empathy. It opened up my universe.

I longed for adventures that went beyond my fanciful playground antics. I longed to know that children could DO things. Stories gave me hope for my future. A hope that still sustains me in the darkest of times.

I am eternally grateful to my mother for introducing me to this fantastical world, and my father for sending me books when I temporarily lived in a rural part of India where I had no access to English bookstores.

No access to a bookstore?! Why YES. It is indeed as horrible as it sounds. Also, no pizza for two years. The combination of the two was the epitome of true suffering for a 13-yr old.

Thanks for sharing so eloquently! Reading helped me in powerful ways as well, so I'm glad we have that in common. Next: who is on your list of favorite authors?

Oooh. SO MANY.

As a child, my favorites were J.K. Rowling (naturally!), Roald Dahl, Anthony Horowitz and Enid Blyton. As I have grown into the dreadfully mature 25-yr old crazy animal lady that I am, my favorites now include Jay Kristoff, Anne Bishop, Diana Wynne Jones, Neil Gaiman, Laini Taylor, Megan Whalen Turner, Patricia Wrede, Gail Carriger, Lindsay Buroker, Patricia Briggs (just to name a few).

As you can tell, my tastes tend to run towards YA Fantasy, though I have been enjoying my foray into Steampunk and Urban Fantasy.

Fantastic. I love that you shared some authors that I'm unfamiliar with. I'll have to look them up! But first: what is your favorite classic novel and why?

I must confess that I have not read many classics. I used to read them as a child, but I stopped once I realized how many fascinating fantasy books out there I could read instead. Whoops. That being said, I am determined to get into some this year! I've been wanting to read Frankenstein, The Portrait of Dorian Gray, Dracula and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. We can blame Penny Dreadful for that. It's on Showtime, it's creepy yet fervent in its portrayal of Gothic characters. WATCH IT!

However, the two classic novels that I read over and over again as a child were Black Beauty by Anna Sewell and The Call of the Wild by Jack London. Clearly we can all see where my animal craze first began. I blame my family/the apartment building for not allowing me animals as I was growing up. I loved those books because it showed the resilience of Buck and Black Beauty, how they could survive and eventually thrive. It laid down the fundamentals and ignited my passion for working with homeless/abused animals.

Perfect! I love how pure childhood reading is. There's such an element of discovery to it. The classics I read as a child stay in my heart as well. Anyways, back to the task at hand! Do you have a reviewing style that you're drawn to?

Yours, Ellen! I am always so impressed at how thoughtful and yet critical your reviews are. You have a way with words that is nothing short of magical. I sure hope you end up writing a book of your own! If only so I can claw myself into your Acknowledgements page :P.

My review style is a bit of a hodge-podge mess. I do not have an English major background though I fancy myself a pretty decent writer. My reviews tend to be a little less critical and analytical than Ellen's or Emily May's reviews. I prefer to rely on my lifetime experience of being a reader and my intuition in terms of how I personally review a book. Hopefully mine and Ellen's styles will provide an interesting contrast for our readers.

You put a total smile on my face, and I love how you say that intuition guides your reviews. I really trust your opinion, so I'm very eager to work with you in a reviewing partnership! Next question: how do social media and the internet influence your reading life?

It's wonderful and yet a little stressful. I'm sure many of you can relate. It has definitely expanded my reading world and introduced me to my amazing book buddies. I'm never experiencing a lack of books to read or people to follow and watch on Goodreads and Booktube but sometimes it can be overwhelming. I love the community that has been formed online for our mutual passion for books but once in a while, I do enjoy an internet-free zone.

I have learned that I need to place appropriate boundaries in my life. So that means when I am in a reading slump, or realize that I am reading JUST to read and get up a post, I need to stop and take a step back. My main goal for my participation in the blog is to keep reading a pleasurable activity (instead of a job), and to enjoy the process and the many friends I hope to make along the way. And this is where co-blogging comes in! Hopefully Ellen and I will be able to juggle our respective lives and our reading lives while still maintaining a high quality of content on our blog. At least, we can dream so :).

And now it's time for me to beg for my Rani's forgiveness... *runs after Rani in dramatic Bollywood fashion*

I, as well, take a more... stretchy stance... towards blogging.  I post in rhythm with my reading too, and some months I read quite a bit. Other months, I break. So, together, I think we'll be able to keep this blog a wonderful hobby and be part of an amazing community! Thanks so much, Sierra! Let our partnership officially begin!


  1. Wooot congrats and hi Sierra!!!

  2. So nice to meet you! Looking forward to seeing your posts and reviews!

  3. Holla. Sierra! I know you. I wondered whatever happened after your trip to India. Anyway, looking forward to reading your posts!

  4. Hi, Sierra! I love reading Quest Reviews, so I'll be looking forward to your contributions!

    I read The Call of the While only this year, and it was really interesting. But I also like Gothic novels! The Monk is really creepy, if you're looking for something that, in my opinion, still manages to come across as scandalous even now!

  5. Good to meet you Sierra!

    I need to dive into Penny Dreadful - it sounds like it would be right up my alley!

  6. I seriously NEED to watch that show as well. I love the actress who is in it, Eva Green.

  7. Thank you and hello to you too! :)

  8. Hi Joy! Yea... I disappeared from the online world for quite a while. I'm happy to be back!

  9. Thank you! Happy to be here :D

  10. Thank you, I hope to live up to the glory that is Quest Reviews!
    I love that you enjoy Gothic novels, I will definitely add The Monk to the list.
    And I definitely encourage you to watch Penny Dreadful if you enjoy Gothic novels. As long as you don't mind the R rating (which it well deserves).

    *Ahem* I know I have been pretty subtle about it so far, but it is my all-time favorite show.
    Especially since it is one of the only shows that I can think of that blends literature so beautifully into darkness. The characters are so alive, and the language is just poetic (and not in a nauseating way either).

  12. And Eva Green is absolutely magnificent in it! I actually hadn't seen anything of hers until Penny Dreadful (ghastly, I know). I just love that her character is unapologetically herself. And none of that nonsense about women having to look perfect and beautiful even in the most distressing of circumstances either.

  13. I've also heard that Billie Piper is in the show, too. That's enough reason to watch there! :)