Feature & Follow: Meet Amy Valentini @ Unwrapping Romance!
January was our first month participating in PJ’s Feature & Follow meme. If you missed it, you can check out Mandee @ Compelled By Words’ spotlight here, or see the full history of this event as we progress through the months here, and meet some fantastic book bloggers!
Meet Amy Valentini from Unwrapping Romance!
If you didn’t catch our end-of-year awards event in December, you missed out on some serious fun! We did a spotlight post for one poll in each of the award categories, and Feral Warriors author Pamela Palmer selected Amy to represent her in the Most Original Story Universe spotlight. Amy was a doll to work with put her own unique spin on the gritty dystopian world of Vamp City, so I figured she’d be prime pickin’s for a GT grilling. (Ack, did I really just say “pickins'”? Too many cowboy romances, this month’s feature genre! Anyhoo, on to the juicy bits…)
DVK: Just what sort of romantic hero is your favorite to “unwrap”? *grin*
Amy: Well, I’m kind of into tall, dark, and handsome but he can pretty much be any look as long as he’s strong, charming, gentle and caring, yet ready to get down and dirty if he needs to – especially if he’s protecting his woman. Oh, and he has to be HOT in the sack! *wink*
DVK: If you were stranded on a tropical island paradise (because, really, who wants to be stranded somewhere that sucks?) and could only keep one paperback (yes, the real McCoy. No cheating with an e-reader!), which book would you choose and why?
Amy: Oh wow! That’s a toughie! Only one, huh? So many to choose from that I have read repeatedly and will read repeatedly. I think I’d have to go with one of my all time absolute favorites that I still pick up and read occasionally when I want to escape from my TBR list. THE ONE would have to be GENTLE ROGUE by Johanna Lindsey – James Malory is my ultimate charmer & I would love to be in Georgie’s shoes – in a heartbeat! This story makes me laugh, makes me swoon, and makes me sigh with the romance of it.
DVK: OMG! One of my first romance crushes was James Malory from the Johanna Lindsey Malory Family books (Gentle Rogue)! Looks like you’ve read the series and swooned for those bad boy London rakehell brothers as much as I did!
Amy: Yes, I have read them – all of them! I’ve been a huge fan of Ms. Lindsey since her first romance, CAPTIVE BRIDE, but when I read the first Malory book, LOVE ONLY ONCE, I was hooked. When Anthony Malory’s story came along in TENDER REBEL, I was in trouble but when James Malory became the center of the world in GENTLE ROGUE, I was definitely a goner. I think he was the first blond hero that ever truly captured my heart – I have more than a crush on that man! : )
DVK: Who are some noteworthy new or as-yet-lesser-known authors you’ve discovered through Unwrapping Romance that have really impressed you?
Amy: Oh, now that’s an easy question! I love debut authors and have been fortunate enough to read some debut novels that absolutely amazed me with the level of talent. The first interview I ever did on my, at the time 2 month old blog, was with KC Klein who had just released her debut, DARK FUTURE, from Avon Impulse – an amazing scifi romance. Jaye Shields has 2 series with 2 releases this month, SECRETS OF THE SKY, and ADDICTIONS OF A SEX DEMON – amazing paranormal romances. Carey Baldwin, whose debut, FIRST DO NO EVIL, a fab suspense romance had me hooked right away, and Joan Swan, who has really taken the suspense romance genre by storm with her Phoenix Rising series, as well as a self-publish titled INTIMATE ENEMIES, is one of the best. A lesser known author who is truly coming into her own, since her Devil DeVere Series was introduced last year, is Victoria Vane. There are a several more that I will definitely keep following and reading but I could be here all day listing them. To say the least, there are some truly amazing and talented authors out there and if you’re interested, I’ve reviewed a lot of them. : )
DVK: Amy, stop reading my mind! We are SO on the level. Seriously. Joan Swan snagged TWO of our 2012 Book Awards – Book of the Year and Debut Author of the Year! Those other names are new to me, but you can bet I’m gonna check ’em out! Back on track… You’re a member of the fairly elite Avon Addicts club, How has being an Avon Addict influenced your blog?
Amy: I’m proud to say that I am a member of the first group of super-readers called Avon Addicts. I’m now in the ‘retired’ group referred to as Avon Addict Alums but still very active in promoting events and Avon authors. I think the greatest influence from being an Avon Addict came with my introduction to the new contemporary romances that are being pubished today. Prior to becoming an Avon Addict, I primarily kept my reading to historicals of all eras, paranormals of all kinds, and suspense, but I always shied away from true contemporaries. I grew up with contemporaries that were very cookie-cutter, very – dare I say it – Barbara Cartland/Harlequin and they practically bored me to tears. I won’t say that every contemporary that Avon asked me to read and review was wonderful, but I was introduced to so many that now I’m as excited about contemporaries as I am about the historicals, paranormals, and suspenses. In fact, I’m even working on one myself, which if you’d suggested that to me a year ago, I would’ve laughed in your face.
DVK: One of the things just about every book blogger struggles with is deciding what books to review and when to say no. Do you take every review request you receive or are you more selective? What factors go into your decisions?
Amy: No, I don’t accept every review request I receive. I am very selective. When I receive a review request, I read the blurb – it has to grab me – I visit the author’s website if they have one, if not, I check them out on Goodreads or Amazon. I’m looking to see what they’re about. If they are a debut author, I have to go only with my gut based on the blurb. I’m looking for a story that my blog readers would be interested in as well as myself. It has to have a HEA ending or I will not review it on my blog. I have started reading books that were presented as romances but turned out not to be at all. I get very unhappy about that because it’s a waste of my time and then the only place I’ll review it is off my blog. It’s tough sometimes to turn down a request. I state in my review policy that if you don’t hear from me, it’s a resounding ‘no’! Sometimes, I’m interested but just don’t have the time. I tell them, if they’re willing to wait for a review, I’ll do it. I’m always surprised when they say they’ll wait. : )
DVK: I know what you mean. I’m also very humbled every time an author submits a book for review with glowing comments about GT and says they don’t mind waiting. Okay, confession time. Just how many books did you read in 2012, anyway? Goals for 2013?
Amy: I reviewed 85 separate works on my blog in 2012 but I honestly read 102. Of the remaining 17, a few of those were my personal reading (not romances), but the others were romances that I read and reviewed elsewhere or not at all. Those that I didn’t review on the blog didn’t rate high enough for me to recommend to my readers and that’s what it’s all about. My goals for 2013 – wow! I’m actually trying to slow down because I’m also writing and trying to get published, but I’ve already read and reviewed (not all published yet) – 17 romances – so at that rate, if I keep up that pace, I’ll be around 200 by year’s end. Yikes! I’m thinking I should read less. : )
DVK: Holy schnikes, woman! How many hours are in your day, anyway?! Last one before the Gauntlet… Valentines Day may have just passed, but champagne and chocolate NEVER go out of style! What are your favorite varieties of melt-in-your-mouth goodness and sweet, sweet fizzy nectar?
Amy: I love anything chocolate with caramel and nuts. FERRERO ROCHER hazelnut chocolates are my favorite candy to receive as a gift and I love the Spanish sparkling wine, Freixenet Cordon Negro! The little tiny bubbles = less chance of a hangover headache in the morning! *wink*
Mmmmm, Ferrero Rochers! Now I’m craving. Awesome. Time for the gauntlet. Quick answers, the first thing to cross your mind… GO!
DVK: If I could have one superpower, it would be ___ and I would ___!
Amy: If I could have one superpower, it would be TO FLY and I would FLY EVERYWHERE AND WATCH OVER EVERYONE!
DVK: Okay, that’s a little scary. Leather or Lace?
Amy: LEATHER ON HIM, LACE ON ME! *wink*
DVK: Ooo, great answer! Brains or bulging… muscles?
Amy: LOL! Both, need to be able to talk to your hunk in the afterglow.
DVK: Menage: “Where the party’s at!” or “three’s a crowd!”?
Amy: THREE’S A CROWD!
DVK: My favorite accent on a man is…
Amy: SOUTHERN DEEP.
DVK: Amen, sister, bring on the cowboys! I think ___ would make a great ___ in a movie adaptation of ___!
Amy: I think JOSH DUHAMEL would make a great SHANE GALLAGHER in a movie adaptation of COLLIDE by Juliana Stone!
DVK: 2013 will be a smashing year for me if /when I ___.
Amy: 2013 will be a smashing year for me
if /when I GET PUBLISHED!! Woohoo!
DVK: Thanks so much to Amy for being our guest and letting me interrogate her oh-so-inappropriately! Stop by Unwrapping Romance and say hi!
Amy: Thank you for having me. I had a great time and look forward to having y’all stop by and say hello! Happy Reading Everyone!
Feature Question for DVK:
Write a letter to your favorite character. Rant, rave or gush…just pretend like they are real and you just want to let them know a “few things”.
That’s an easy one this week! Just this morning, my Book Boyfriend Love Letter (Permission,below) to Rise of the Fallen’s Micah Black posted on GT, so head on over and see how I serenaded him (then watch some hot six-pack showing-off by Ne-Yo in the video at the bottom)! Check out all our Book Boyfriend Love Letters below (note that IMP’s won’t post until 2/15/13 so if the top right link is down, check back in a few hours)!
What would you say to your Book Boyfriend?
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