Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Book Blogger Conversation with Riki Cleveland

I'm excited to start a new series of posts with a group that is under appreciated--book bloggers!
Book bloggers are obviously so important to authors. They give consistent reviews. They open their blogs to us. They are readers and fans! I think we should honor them more.

So this series of interviews was born! Hopefully it will help authors find bloggers and give everyone else a better appreciation of them.

Welcome to Riki Cleveland and find out more about her and her blog. Be sure and check out her links at the end of this post

What types of books do you review?

No book goes unloved at Refreshingly Riki! I review everything from middle grade to adult, with a special emphasis on Young Adult literature and adult romance. I’m a sucker for a well-written story, no matter what genre it comes in.

Do you have any guidelines for authors to follow in contacting you? A link will work.

Authors can contact me either by email: RefreshinglyRiki [at], or via my contact form:

Do you post anything besides reviews—such as cover art or giveaways?

I absolutely love participating in author interviews and cover reveals! I typically feature at least one cover reveal per week and host authors for interviews as often as possible.

How do you find books to review or do they come to you?

I review in two ways. First, I review Advance Review Copies provided by various publishers, which is always a really fun thing. It’s amazing to be a part of generating buzz for an upcoming release. I do also review already published books as well, though. My review slate is a good mix of both.

What got you into blogging about books?

I’m a lifelong reader and have always loved talking about books in both a classroom and book club setting, so blogging about books was the next logical step. It’s like a huge book club just waiting to happen!

What elements go into a good review and how long does it take to write one?

I think that it is really important in reviews to be as honest as possible, but at the same time acknowledging that not every book is going to be for every person. When I don’t connect with a book I try to let my readers know why it didn’t work for me, while still acknowledging that it might absolutely work for them. I also believe that book reviews should stay away from spoilers as much as possible!

As for how long it takes to write one- it really depends. I’m known to wax poetic about books I love, so some of my reviews take longer to write than others.

How often do you post reviews?

I feature at least three book reviews per week.
What types of things make for an extra special book? The kind you don’t forget?

The books that stay with me long after reading are the ones that elicit an intense feeling for me. That can be a book that makes me feel fear, like in a good suspense novel, or one that makes me swoon, like in a good romance novel. The ones that I’m not likely to forget always give me heightened emotions of some sort. Bonus points for books that make me cry!

Any marketing tips you’ve noticed work really well for authors?

I think that it is absolutely true that readers love a good giveaway. I’ve noticed a large increase in traffic and participation in promotional posts that feature a giveaway, even if it is for something small like a signed bookmark or postcard. Readers love to have a piece of an author who wrote a book they loved, and giveaways are a wonderful way to provide that.

Favorite books you’ve reviewed.

This is an impossible question! I’ve fallen in love with so many books and their authors through the years! But if I had to choose my favorites, I would have to say that I’ve loved reviewing books that take me out of my comfort zone the most. I’m often guilty of reading prolifically within my comfort zone and steering clear of books that I’m not sure about, but when I’ve given those books a chance, I’ve found that I am inevitably wowed by the novelty and have found new favorites.

Books you are looking forward to in the next year.

Two books that I absolutely cannot wait to read are QUEEN OF SHADOWS by Sarah J. Maas and TRUTHWITCH by Susan Dennard. (Incidentally- I’ve never been much of a fantasy reader, but these authors hooked me, and now their books are at the top of my Must Read list!)

Do you prefer kindle or actual books when reading?

I’m split on this! I read about 50/50 e-books versus paper books. I tend to read most Advance Review Copies on my Kindle since they often come from NetGalley, but I’m a sucker for a beautiful hard copy of a book.

If you could only purchase one book, what would it be?

Ooh- what a good question! If I could only purchase one book to have on my shelves, I would choose Diana Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER. It has everything I love in a book, including compelling lead characters, high action, and an epic romance. Plus, it’s quite long, so it would keep me busy awhile!

What’s your favorite spot to read?

My absolute favorite spot to read is the beach! There is nothing better than being outdoors reading with the sound of crashing waves in the background. But when I cannot be at the beach, I typically read in a recliner!

Give us your best advice for a beginning book blogger. 

My best advice for a beginning book blogger would be to be open to reading new things. Some of my favorite books of all time have come from publishers when I knew nothing about the book in advance and might not have picked it up otherwise. Not only does it expand your horizons as a reader, but it also makes you a better reader in the process!


 Riki has a long-standing love affair with all things books and writing. She indulged her love for all things literary with a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University and holds a certificate in novel writing from the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. Although she is well past her own teen years, Riki’s reading passion lies with Young Adult literature where she devours books that handle the “firsts” in life. When not reading and writing she can be found yelling at the television while watching sports.


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