Sandra Valente of Simply Sensational Book Fanatics Steps into the Book Blogger Spotlight

book blogger spotlight

Today, I am so excited because one of my most favorite book bloggers, Sandra Valente of Simply Sensational Book Fanatics steps into the book blogger spotlight! Please take a moment and learn about this lady who truly loves books and her blog:

1.       When and how did you decide to become a book blogger?

I started blogging in August of 2011. I just sat in front of my computer one day (in August, lol) and thought I’d give it a try. After visiting numerous book blogs, I had the insane (joking) idea to start my own and share my love of books. I got it right, which was quite shocking. But that was back then, and I now know more about codes and putting things together than I did then. I absolutely love every aspect of blogging. I’ve also made some amazing friends.

2.       What’s the hardest part of being a book blogger?

Trying to keep up with everything that’s happening. It can and does become hectic, and I tend to spend hours tweaking and trying to make things look better. Also, putting blog tours/book tours/guest posts or anything else really takes quite a bit of time. Writing reviews can take me an hour or two, but only because I like to read them numerous times, and check for typos before posting! Some do escape sometimes, and then I panic. A bit OCD over this.

3.       What are your hobbies that you do when you’re not blogging?

Reading and playing around on my blog. I also love making jewellery, too, although this has been set aside as I just don’t have the time anymore. I’m a mom with a seventeen-year-old son, so tend to spend most of my time driving up and down!

4.       What are your favorite types of posts to do and/or read?

I don’t have a particular preference. I like everything and anything book related, whether an interview, guest post, review, memes… they all interest me.

5.       What are your favorite genres to read?

Gosh, I have a few, so here goes: Romance, Romantic Suspense, Paranormal Romance, Chick Lit, Thrillers/Suspense, YA, Dystopian, Horror (of sorts)… just about anything (not self help books and the like).

6.       How did you come up with your blog name?

A friend and I love to read – we are book obsessed, and tend to gravitate towards the same genres and authors. When we get together, it’s a wonder either of us can get a word in. We dissect a book and its characters down to the nitty gritty. So, on the day I sat where I’m sitting right now and decided to start a blog, I thought heck, Suzanne will also enjoy doing reviews – it will be cool. Hence the ‘SS’ in SSBookFanatics. Since then, Suzanne (who I’d thrown in the deep end just because I’d presumed she would want to do this) wasn’t too keen on doing reviews any longer. It’s not her thing. I got it. Needless to say that the ‘SS’ changed to Simply Sensational (Book Fanatics).

7.       What about your blog design? What inspired it?

I’ve sat for hours making my header and blog button and even made my own background, which was no easy feat. I like playing around, which most times takes hours. My blog look has come a long way from 2011 and I’ve learnt a heck of a lot. I’ve changed it numerous times from pink to purple, all sorts of things really, but the way it is now, is what I prefer. Who inspires me to be better at it? Laurynne Meyer from Coffee, Books & Lipgloss. She’s professional in everything she does and everything on her blog has it’s place. So, I’ve tried to make mine just as neat and organised. She created two of my buttons (the author/promo and 2013 favourite books button), which are gorgeous, and for these I am truly thankful.

8.       As an avid reader, what do you look for in a book?

A surprise! I love it when authors whose books I’ve never read make me smile big and wide, making me fall in love with their story. Or, when it’s so moving, deep and touching, I’m a nervous wreck and have cried my eyes out until I look like I’ve just gone through a bout of hay fever! I’m also a big sucker for romance in any book. I grew up (a terrible, terrible introvert) reading love stories every chance I got, and I spent many years devouring them. I’m still doing that. Yep, one hopeless romantic right here!

9.       What are your biggest turn-offs about a book?

Okay, here goes. There are a few things, but at the top of my list are typos! They drive me crazy. To be fair and more often than not, there is the odd one or two both in traditional and self-published books, but a book riddled with errors is just not on. I edit, so that’s probably why they freak me out. I have an inconceivable aversion to typos – can’t help it. What I do appreciate though, is being told by an author that their book is still in its final editing stage so I can expect some typos. The funny thing is that once I know this, they don’t bother me as much. We all make mistakes as nobody is perfect, just irritates me when it’s from beginning to end. I also get very frustrated when certain chapters or passages are so long-winded; I want to put the book down. And lastly, I hate confusion. By this I mean, don’t make explanations turn into loads of head scratching due to so much said explanation going on – it confuses me more than it sheds light! It drives me bonkers having to read the same thing over and over trying to make sense of it. Most times, it still doesn’t. There’s a time when something should be explained, but there’s also a time when the story should be gotten on with.

10.   Who are your three favorite authors?

Really? Three? Almost impossible to answer as I have many, but I’ll make you a deal, okay? I’ll give you three traditionally published, and three Indie. 😀

Traditionally published authors:: J.R. Ward (Paranormal Romance), Shannon McKenna (Romantic Suspense) and Karen Rose (Suspense/Romantic Suspense).

Indie authors:: Natasha Slight, Glenn Starkey, Carlyle Labuschagne and Junying Kirk. (Okay, I cheated and gave you four. *bats eyelashes prettily*)

11.   Which author (dead or alive) would you most like to meet?

Last year, I met one of my favourite authors. I acted like a two-year-old not only on that day, but for months after. I’ve met NYT Bestselling author, Karen Rose, author of suspense/romantic suspense. But, gosh I’m sorry I keep cheating here, given half a chance, I’d practically do anything to spend just one day with J.R. Ward. Actually, I’d love to live in her head. I’d live in her house, too. Heck, I’d watch her type all day if I could. She’d probably not get much writing done, because I’d be asking questions all day. Right, moving on… I’m sounding stalker-ish, but no worries, as I’m nowhere near the US!

12.   How big is your TBR list? How do you go about tackling it?

It’s so big, I want to faint every time I look at my list. There are so many authors I want to try out, but I can only read so much – time permitting. This might sound awful, but if I never had to cook another meal in my life (which takes away precious hours where I could be writing or blogging), I’d be in Heaven. I could live on a sandwich a day! LOL But seriously, most of my TBR pile are books I’ve chosen to read. So, because I review for authors, my own choices, books I receive from publishers via NetGalley and those for book tours, I make sure my commitments (those I accepted for a review) come first, before I read a book I’ve chosen.

13.   What are your top 3 books of all-time and 3 favorites from 2012?

Not again! You can’t ask me this. *sobs*

Three all-time top 3 are: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (when I was but a youngster but one I won’t and haven’t forgotten), The Cobra and Scarab: A Novel of Ancient Egypt by Glenn Starkey, and Creed by Kristen Ashley (best love story I think I’ve read in my life, which I read this past December).

Three favourites of 2012 are: YA Fantasy Adventure – Guardians of the Grimoire by Natasha Slight, Dystopian/Sci-Fi – The Broken Destiny by Carlyle Labuschagne (fellow South African) and Literary Fiction – Land of Hope by Junying Kirk. Here’s something awesome. Both Natasha Slight and Junying Kirk are self-published authors.

14.   How can readers/authors/publishers connect with you?

Thank you, Tiffany. This has been fun! Look forward to reading what other bloggers have to say.


Orsayor Simmons of The Book Referees Steps Into the Spotlight

book blogger spotlight

Today I chatted with Orsayor Simmons whose blog is titled The Book Referees and it is great to have her here as the 1st blogger to be featured in our Book Blogger Spotlight. Get to know Orsayor and about her blog:

1. When and how did you decide to become a book blogger?

I have always been outspoken about my love for books & my favorite Authors – so I decided to take it to another level with blogging.

2. What’s the hardest part of being a book blogger?

From working a full-time job, being a cake stylist, Reiki practitioner, Mom and Wife, the hardest part for me is having enough time to blog.

3. What are your hobbies that you do when you’re not blogging?

LOL! Good question. I think I’m always in Work Mode.

4. What are your favorite type of posts to do and/or read?

I really try to post things that are interesting & definitely not the norm. I can’t stand being part of “the norm” – I love to dance to beat of my own drum.

5. What are your favorite genres to read?

I have no favorite genre because I love to read it all – I don’t believe in limiting myself when it comes to reading.

6. How did you come up with your blog name?

My Friend of 26 years… he inspired me to come up with the name.

7. What about your blog design? What inspired it?

My blog design changes often, because I’m a person that gets bored easily.

8. As an avid reader, what do you look for in a book?


9. What are your biggest turn-offs about a book?

Grammatical Errors, Lack of Story Development, and Horrible Book Covers – in the past horrible book covers would have never made this list. Fast forward to the present… it has become a Literary Crime. There are some books I refuse to read because of the cover. How can you design a book cover with a personal picture taken from a disposable camera? What that tells me is you don’t take pride in your work, so why should I devote my time to read your book.

10. Who are your three favorite authors?

Donald Goines, E. Lynn Harris, & Brian W. Smith

11. Which author (dead or alive) would you most like to meet?

Yolande Cornelia Giovanni Jr aka Nikki Giovanni

12. How big is your TBR list? How do you go about tackling it?

I plead the fifth! – On a Serious Note, My TBR list has over 500+ books on it & continues to grow. I tackle my Book Reviewing pile & my TBR pile differently. With my Book Reviewing pile – I read it as I receive them, and my TBR list depends on my mood.

13. What are your top 3 books of all-time and 3 favorites from 2012?

The Value of Determination: The Story of Helen Keller (A ValueTale by Ann Donegan Johnson), Swamp Man/Daddy Cool – Donald Goines, and Invisible Life – E. Lynn Harris. 2012 Favorites: Homecoming Weekend – Curtis Bunn, The Stalker Chronicles – Electa Rome Parks – Can I Be Frank! – Rickey Teems II

14. How can readers/authors/publishers connect with you?

Thank you so much Orsayor for chatting with the readers of Tiffany Talks Books. Now, everyone go right over to The Book Referees and show your support. Make sure to tell her that Tiffany sent you!

New Blog Feature: Book Blogger Spotlight

book blogger spotlight

I wanted to give bloggers a chance to gain more followers and give other bloggers the chance to see what other blogs are out there. And, I also just like getting to know my fellow bloggers. I’d love to hear from you, so send me an email if you’re interested.

The Guidelines:
·         If you’d like to participate in The Blogger Spotlight, I’d greatly appreciate it if you would follow my blog. However, it is not a requirement. I will still spotlight blogs who don’t follow me, but those who do will get priority over those who don’t. I hope that does not seem harsh.
·          You have to blog about books and/or writing in some capacity.
·         Keep your posts clean.
If you’re interested, the process is pretty simple.
·         Email me and/or fill out the form below and give the link to your blog.
·        I will look at your blog, send you questions that you answer and then you send them back to me.
·         If you’re interested, email me at or fill out the form below.

Have a great day and best of luck with your blogging endeavors!