Welcome! With the inaugural post, we’d like to lay it straight and explain who we are and what it is we intend to do here.
What exactly is a “book smuggler”?
Wise question, young grasshopper. We are two completely obsessed, sad, sick addicts when it comes to books. We’re not just talking a meager fix of sci-fi here or a quick shot of romance there – we’re talking full-blown, unrestrained, junkie-shuffling, itching-my-scratches addiction. This entails spending massive amounts of our disposable incomes at various book retailers, stockpiling said books, and creating lengthy lists of what to read next. Our significant others have tried to quell the compulsion with threats, mocking cynicism, and finally with desperate pleas and interventions. Their disapproval and plain refusal to accept us as we are, book-hoarding habits and all, forced the two of us to take drastic measures. To escape the hawk-like watch of our boyfriends, we contrived a way to beat the system: we order books online and have the books shipped in bulk to our respective places of work. Armed with oversized handbags, we smuggle the books home, just a few at a time, where we slip them inconspicuously into the book pile. Should someone catch on to the system, denial works wonders (e.g. “No baby, I’ve had this book for ages, I just haven’t read it yet!”). So long as the telltale boxes are out of sight and safely disposed of at an offsite location, the boys will never be the wiser.*
Hence, our title as Book Smugglers.
The real kicker to this story is both of us undertook the same sneaky smuggling plan unbeknownst to the other. When we found each other out, we decided to combine our brilliant, devious genius in the form of book reviews. Which brings us to…
*Of course, over the years the secret is literally out of the oversized handbag – our partners have since the inception of this blog caught on to our devious smuggling ways. And, wise men that they are, both have given up trying to dissuade us from our shared bookish obsession. We knew they’d come around… eventually.
What is the purpose of this blog?
No one becomes a master at blockade running and sneaking in contraband without having a voracious appetite for reading. And as avid readers with an OCD streak a mile wide, what better way to channel obsession into reviews! We will give you straight up reviews, complete with bitchy or gushing opinions, on all of our recent endeavors. The goal is to review a minimum of 4 books per week. At least once a month, we’ll do a joint review of the same book to add a little spice and lend some differing perspectives. And since we are such obsessive dorks, anything else—movies, television shows, news bits, sports—is fair game.
Welcome! And we hope you enjoy!
Three things: Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.
No not really. At least not the Bears and Beets part (although there is a case to be made for bears. Bears are badass). I’m a full-time working woman, a fresh outta college grad that needs to escape from everyday drudgery through multiple, unhealthy obsessions. Namely books of the scifi/fantasy/horror variety (both YA and “adult”), dorky television shows, movies, zombies, video games of the survival horror and hand-eye coordination variety (hi, guitar hero!), and sports.
Book-wise, my taste runs towards the fantastical. Which isn’t to say I haven’t been persuaded to reading (and somewhat enjoying) trashy romance novels (Ana’s influence); in general I’m much more of a speculative fiction kind of gal. I’ve studied history (my first love) and literature, and while trendy high-lit ficton can sometimes weasel its way into the rotation, I try to stay away from the overly-pompous and pretentious types of material.
With movies, I’m a sucker for true horror, anything that involves multiple explosions, and cheap humor. I watch everything I can get my hands on that sounds even remotely interesting (not to say that I review all of these movies favorably). Cultured, uber-artsy, moody flicks aren’t my jam (although if forced, under threat of torture I will watch them). Zombie movies are the best. Naturally.
I am an opinionated bitch when it comes to sports. A regular hot-blooded UCLA Bruin devotee, Laker for life, Dodgers and Angels lover, etc, etc, etc.
Other notable obsessions include: LOST—I’m a full on, guns-blazin’ Skater (yes, I am into the girly shippy stuff and won’t ever apologize for it!); Battlestar Galactica; The X-Files; Survival-Horror video games; and did I mention anything to do with zombies and the apocalypse in general?
As such, my reviews/entries will deal with the above materials. Cheers!
Thea James works for a large publishing house by day, and is a Book Smuggler by night. When she’s not here at The Book Smugglers, or swamped in pending papers and proposals, she can be found blogging over at Kirkus with Ana. (If she’s not there either, try the local bar.)
While trying to write this intro, I find that describing myself is very hard. My friends and family tell me I live in my own little world. Well, in my little world there are rooms there are filled with books and just about enough space for a few other healthy obsessions such as movies, TV shows and travelling around the world.
My thing with books probably started when my grandfather read fairy tales to me. I grew up surrounded by them as my mother was a teacher and a voracious reader as well. I remember my father taking me to second-hand bookshops when I was a teenager where I fell in love with the smell of books. I like the physical aspect of the books as much as like the contents: nothing compares to holding a new book in your hands.
Subject-wise my taste has expanded with time. I started with the fairy tales and children’s books, moved towards Agatha Christie’s novels when I was 12, spent a lot of time reading History and Archaeology (which probably explains why I decided to study History at Uni, a degree that has never been used since graduation), literary fiction and eventually Fantasy. In September 2007, something happened that changed my views on books: upon recommendation of a friend I picked up a book from a section I had always looked down upon and in the five hours that took me to read this book, I fell in love with a new genre, went online to search for more recommendations and a new world opened in front of me. That book was The Viscount who Loved Me by Julia Quinn and the love for Romance was what prompted me to start this blog in 2008. Over the years, I moved away from Romance to concentrate more on Speculative Fiction (YA and adult).
I also have a love for all things British. So much so that about 9 years ago I migrated from Brazil where I was born, to England, where I live with my partner. Here, my little world has expanded to include new friends, Internet pursuits and a passion for cooking. I am a feminist and you can often find me on our Twitter feed talking about books and raging against the world.
You will probably not hear a word from me on sports (unless it is the World Cup and Brazil is playing) but I will join forces with Thea when it comes to Lost and Skate.
Ana Grilo is a Brazilian who moved to the UK because of the weather. No, seriously. She works with translations in RL and hopes one day The Book Smugglers will be her day job. When she’s not here at The Book Smugglers, or hogging our Twitter feed, she can be found blogging over at Kirkus with Thea.
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In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, The Book Smugglers would like everyone to know that while we do purchase our own books for review on occasion, you should assume that every book reviewed here at The Book Smugglers was provided to the reviewers by the publisher or the author for free unless specified otherwise.