Sunday, June 21, 2015

Samina from Escapism From Reality (Celebrating British Bloggers)

Hello and welcome to another edition of Celebrating British Bloggers in which I ask a bunch of awesome bloggers some tough questions about books and blogging!

Today I'm very excited to have Samina from Escapism From Reality on the blog. Samina is super, super lovely and very supportive and if you are not already following her blog or her on Twitter then I don't know what you're doing with your life.

Firstly, can you tell me something about yourself and your blog?

My name is Samina but around my blog and social media I’m known as Escapist or escapismfanatic. My blog is called Escapism From Reality.

How did you begin being a book blogger? What is it about books that makes you excited to talk about books on your blog?

Funny you ask me that. I had seen lots of bookworms like me in GoodReads starting their own blogs left and right but it never inspired me to start blogging. Until one fine morning when I was visiting my family in India, fed up with their constant nagging to stop reading 24x7 (*as if I’d do that*) I decided that I had had enough and wanted my space. Henceforth Escapism From Reality was born, a way to escape my real life and immerse myself in the world that words and pages create. It is also a nod to my love for fantasy books.

Long winded answer aside, I’ve always loved stories. Even when I was in school, my friends would be frantically studying for exams and I’ll be burning the midnight oil reading the moth ridden almost 50 year old, forgotten library copy of The Hardy Boys. I love that without having to leave my seat I am able to visit so many worlds and experience countless lives.  I am fascinated by the skill of authors who are able to invoke so many feelings out of me for people who don’t even exist. 

What would you like to have known about book blogging before you got started that you didn't know beforehand?

I’d have loved to have a better idea about how big the blogging world was. At first it all seemed like a lonely business but the now I know it is HUGE with not just book blogs but everything from fashion to living. 

When you're not reading or blogging, what do you do with yourself?

I’m a huge manga fan. I love Shoujo manga and my university days were spent watching hours of anime and reading numerous volumes of manga. Now when I’m going through reading slumps I give myself a break my indulging in Asian drama binge. I adore Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese dramas. They are awesome and are like crack. They keep making you click the ‘Next Episode’ button again and again. To top it all off there soundtrack is to die for. I have more drama music in my phone than regular music. I urge everyone to atleast try and watch a few episode before passing it up.

What type of things do you champion on your blog? What would you like your blog to be known for?

To be honest, I don’t champion a particular topic on my blog. Blogging for me has always been about me and my books but I occasionally have rants about feminism, diversity and homophobia.  I can be pretty mean when I want to be, so I try to keep it to the minimum. My latest rant was about New Adult books and how annoying they have become these days. 

I've never had high ambitions for my blog but I’d like my reader to know that I always give my honest opinion on every book I read. I don’t particularly focus on YA or Na or adult. I have a mixture of Adult, New Adult, YA, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal and even contemporary. Basically what ever catches my fancy.

What has been the best experience of being a book blogger so far?

It has to be all the wonderful people I have managed to meet who love books as much as I do. I know this may be a clich├ęd answer but for me who does not have a lot of friends who read as much as I do, talking to people who read and love books and fangirl with them has been the best part of being part of the blogging/reviewing community.

What is your biggest struggle as a book blogger?

Finding time! I struggle to find time to write reviews and publish post. I like writing them but finding time for that is a pain. I work full time and provide 24x7 on call, keeps me away a lot.  Plus I’m a lazy creature who sometimes doesn't want to do anything but just lie in bed and read anything on a whim.

You can do it, what is your absolute favourite book?

Now that is a very hard question to ask a book blogger and we have not one but many favourite books. It’s like asking a parent to pick their favourite child. But if I have to answer, my absolute favourite, bestest book in the world is not one book but a series of books by Illona Andrews called Kate Daniels. It is an urban fantasy series about a mercenary with secrets of her own. Vampires and shape shifters abound in this post-apocalyptic world from hell where magic rein and technology is in ruins. I love this series to bits even if the ugly covers are a real put off.

What books or authors or series would you like more people to be aware of?

Oh. Oh. Oh. Where do I start? I’d say The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke was beautiful and poignant and I do think that book need more attention. Another favourite of mine is the Pantomime series by Laura Lam. It is a series which embraces all the topics I feel strongly about like gender identity, sexuality, social stigma, different forms of love with an extra added dash of fantasy. It is a wonderfully executed and well thought story and I cannot wait for the last book. Best of all it is UKYA too.

Have you discovered any books or authors through blogging that you might not have otherwise?

Too many to name! However the most recent on will be Seed by Lisa Heathfield. I say the book on NetGalley but the cover made me reluctant to pick it up until I saw a fellow UK book blogger raving about it. Seeing her enthusiasm spurred me into starting the book and I have to tell you, I was transfixed. I love the book blogging community.

Name your top 5 UK book bloggers!

There just too many to name. I think each and every one is of them is awesome in their own way.

If you could meet your favourite author, who would it be?

I’m meeting Sarah J Maas in May which will be a dream come true. I adore her Throne of Glass series but her new book A Court of Thorn and Roses absolutely blew me away.  I’m taking all my books to sign, some on my shelf and some in storage. Yes, I have books put away in storage as I have no space and I let them go and I have multiple copies of her books. 

However, what would I not give to meet J K Rowling who opened my young mind to the wonders of imaginations and fantasy where anything I dreamt could come true.

Oh yes, I’d love to meet Ilona Andrews too. I’ll probably scream like a fan girl and might swoon if I could talk to them.

There are a few more but as you can see, the list is steadily growing, so I’ll stop now.

What would you like to see more or less of in the books you read?

Hmm, I don’t know to be honest. I find the books which I know I’ll like and I’m in the mood to read. That is why I don’t DNF many books.

And finally, who is your ultimate book crush?

No! I really can’t answer that. It’s like asking a king who is his favourite concubine. Hang on, it is exactly like that. I have too many to name. I keep adding more and more to my book boyfriend list. The Darkling from The Grisha Trilogy is most definitely one of them. Dark, dangerous and evil. That’s how I like them. I loved that he was evil to the very end.

Thank you for these wonderful answers, Samina! The Darkling is quite intriguing.

Let Samina and I know your thoughts on her responses in comments! Agree or disagree?

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