Interview with book reviewer/blog host Lori Zalewski from Lusty Penguin Reviews…

As all writers know and appreciate, reviewers, readers, and critique partners help make the world go round. Time to time I like to feature reviewers and see what insights they share to help writers improve their craft. Not to mention, Lori is just cool…

 

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In Lori’s own words…

I come from a family of voracious readers, although I did not find my love for reading until I stumbled upon Robin Cook’s Outbreak when I was a college junior. Discovering that there were books out there that could hold my attention was a game changer for me. Since that time, I joined my mom and sister as a voracious reader. My family’s love of reading turned into a profession, and for over a decade, we owned and operated an independent bookstore, Alibi Books. During that time, I had the pleasure to discuss books with our wonderful customers.

In addition to reading, I enjoy various types of music from jazz to metal. I love movies almost as much as I love music: dramas, romantic comedies, and superhero movies. I watch all kinds of TV shows (love my TiVo) such as Survivor, Justified, and Game of Thrones. I am also an avid knitter and crocheter. During the past year, I’ve become a fitness junkie too and have added running to my list of passions. After successfully finished four half marathons during the summer of 2013, I’m currently training for my first marathon.

 

Now the secret stuff…

Tell us a little about your background—where you grew up—and your career.

For the last twenty-five years, I have been happily married to my best friend and college sweetheart, and we have two wonderful sons. Our elder is a college senior, and our younger is a high school senior. My own happily ever after in the making. We currently live in the Windy City, Chicago, which is where I grew up.

I come from a family of voracious readers although I did not find my love for reading until I stumbled upon Robin Cook’s Outbreak when I was a college junior. Discovering that there were books out there that could hold my attention was a game changer for me. Since that time, I joined my mom and sister as a voracious reader. For many years, I read mysteries almost exclusively. My family’s love of reading turned into a profession, and for over a decade, we owned and operated an independent bookstore, Alibi Books.

How old were you when you read your first romance? Which one?

For romances I really enjoyed, I’m almost embarrassed to say, in my forties. Like I’ve already mentioned, I almost exclusively read mysteries for just about twenty years. After the Alibi Books closed, I took a break from reading for nearly two years. Although I still occasionally read mysteries, my passion has turned to the romance genre ever since I stumbled upon Kat Martin’s Against the Wind. After finishing her book, I mentioned to my younger son that I really enjoyed the story because of the bond between the brothers and the relationship between the hero and heroine. My son, at that time, already reading paranormal romances and stating the obvious, told me I should be reading romance.

Who are your favorite romance authors?

Just to name of a few – Kat Martin, Caris Roane, Christina Dodd, Natasha Blackthorne, Lisa Beth Darling, Elizabeth Cole, and Cynthia Sax. Of course there are way more authors that I read and enjoy, but these names jumped up in my head first.

What are your top five romance books of all time?

I don’t know about all time, but this contains romances I’ve loved in the last year or so. In no particular order –Fistful of Roses – Lea Griffith, Days of Love and Blood – R.S. Carter, Viscount’s Vow – Collette Cameron, Deep Rising – N.R. Rhodes, and Granted Redemption – Katie Mattner.

Do you have a favorite quote? What is it?

Veritas est Lux – meaning truth is light or light more light, which is the motto from my college, Lawrence University. My favorite line from any book is from Lightning by Dean Koontz: “Destiny struggles to reassert the pattern that was meant to be.”

What’s your favorite romantic movie?

I might read lots of romance, but I’m a science fiction, action adventure, super hero girl at the movies. But, some of my favorite romance movies are While You Were Sleeping, Princess Bride, and Down with Love.

 

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What’s the most romantic place you’ve ever visited?

Ravinia, an outdoor music theater near where I live. My husband proposed to me there during a Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert featuring Beethoven. He popped the question at his favorite spot in Beethoven’s 8th Symphony along with the ring at the bottom of the Champaign glass. I said yes before he even finished asking.

What’s the most romantic era/setting for romance books?

Since I believe anywhere can be romantic just because of who you’re with, I’m not sure that there really is a most romantic era/setting for a romance book.

How long does it take for you to read a great book?

If the book is really good, I’ll forgo doing just about everything I should be doing in order to finish it, including not going to bed.

How many books do you read a year?

I read approximately 200ish books a year.

Tell us a bit about your blog. What inspired you to start it? What are your future plans for your blog?

Originally, when I started reviewing books, I was a reviewer at Queentutt’s World of Escapism. When the site owner decided to shut the site down, I decided it was time for me to start my own review blog. Lusty Penguin Reviews was born. Why did I name the site Lusty Penguin Reviews? Well, the simple answer is I love penguins! More specifically, when my now husband and I were courting during our college years, we lived in different states during the summer months. Of course, we talked on the phone all the time, but all the letters and cards he sent me had penguins on them. That’s how life was before e-mailing, texting, and Facebook. Now, he probably wishes he hadn’t done that because our house is filled with penguin knickknacks year-round.

I have some ideas for future things on the blog but they are in the development stage and not ready to be put out in the world just yet.

If you could interview any author, who would it be?

On this one I’m going to have to go back to my mystery days and say Dean Koontz. Dean is one of my favourite authors and Lightning is my favourite book by him.

What questions would you ask?

I’d have to ask if he is ever going to finish the Fear Nothing series, which features one of my favorite characters, Christopher Snow. Unfortunately, in the second book there where some major issues. The kind of issues that make advancing the story difficult. I keep hoping he’ll figure out a way to bring all the parts of this story together and will write a stunning conclusion.

As a reader/reviewer, what advice would you offer aspiring writers seeking that 5 Star review?

Boy, that’s a hard one to answer. First, I would suggest checking out some review sites and read some of the reviews to see if you like the reviewer’s style. Second, make sure the reviewer enjoys the genre you are writing in. Third, the most important thing to remember, the reviewer may or may not like your book. There are no guarantees. Each reviewer is different in what they look for in a book and how that translates into their ratings.

What’s your biggest pet peeve in books?

My biggest pet peeve is an author that categorizes their book as a romance that has no happily ever after or at least a happy for now. To me, a romance implies a happily ever after or at least a happy for now if it’s a series. If the book does not have these components, please, don’t call it a romance.

Any general words of wisdom you’d like to share?

Don’t let fear cripple you and prevent you from trying something new. Amazing things rarely happen in your comfort zone.

 

Thanks for stopping by today, Lori. Love your blog…

 

Where to contact Lori and sign up for her fabulous blog…

http://lustypenguin.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Interview with book reviewer/blog host Lori Zalewski from Lusty Penguin Reviews…

  1. Hi Lori and Violetta!
    200 books a year? Wow. Very impressive.

  2. carolcork says:

    Thank you Lori and Violetta. I love learning about other bloggers with a love of romance. I certainly can’t compete with your 200 books a year, Lori!

    • Carol, thank you so much for stopping by and reading about the Lusty Penguin. I’m a bit behind pace for 200 this year, but there’s a 7 months to go. Lori.

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