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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Lady Scribes Welcomes Guest Reader Punya H. Rashid!

We've been so excited to have some of our readers guest blog with us here at Lady Scribes.  As writers, we were all readers first, and nothing is so beloved as another reader!  We love to dish about books and hunky heroes and favorite series--and we love the opportunity to pick your brains!  :-)

Today I'd like you all to welcome Punya Rashid, avid reader, book blogger and she's been named on of the top 1 % of reviewers on Goodreads!


Hello and thank you so much for coming to visit us at Lady Scribes!  Will you tell us a little about yourself and how you came to read Romance?

Hello, I’m so excited to be here at Lady Scribes. Thank you for having me! Reading is an art that has been instilled in me since my childhood. I’m just a regular girl who discovered Romance reading quite surprisingly back in 2004. I was ill and going through follow-ups. Distraction is something I craved and one day, it came in the form of Victoria Holt’s On the Night of the Seventh Moon which my mom bought for herself. Well guess, what? I’m the one who got addicted and haven’t looked back ever since. Gradually, after I recovered, I begin searching for more information on the current themes and authors of this particular genre, discovering some great reads along the way.

 How many books do you read a month, usually?  Any other favorite genres besides Romance?  What's your favorite reading medium?

Honestly, I don’t really target a read count. I just go as I can. But, even a year and a half ago I used to devour books at such a speed, I could read around 10/12 full-length novels in a month, sometimes even more if I count in the novella-length stories. But real life has intruded of late and my reading speed has gone down quite a bit. Now, I read up to 6 to 8 books, give or take.

I love classics. Also good ghost stories are my favorite. Since I prefer ebooks nowadays, my reader is my favorite reading medium. But I have some old paperbacks, including several Victoria Holt books that I treasure.

You have a Romance review blog, Punya Reviews.  How did you go about starting that up?  What's your favorite part of review blogging?  Your least?

For me, the whole process of reviewing books started out as fun, something to do in my spare time. In 2010, I’ve just completed my MA in English. It’s the same time I also joined Goodreads. Writing has been an important part of my courses and I loved it. Later on, I thought reviewing books would be a great way of keeping that exercise going. Goodreads reviews encouraged me too. Punya Reviews, my blog, initially has been just another place to keep my Goodreads reviews. I started it in 2011, though I became much serious about blogging in the early 2012.

I just love transforming my thoughts into words. I like to challenge myself to see if I can elaborately express whatever I felt about a book in my own words. Sometimes, it’s exhausting, particularly if the book didn’t inspire any strong feelings in me. But when it does, positive and negative, I feel the need to let those words out. And this is probably the best part of review blogging for me. Another thing I love about reviewing is getting feedback, especially from the authors. Feedback from fellow reviewers or whoever is reading my reviews and finding them helpful is lovely too.

The least part of review blogging? I still don’t have any such bad experience but requested reviews do make me nervous. I also feel awful when I decline to do a review, most especially if it’s of a genre I’m not interested in. When I do accept, the thought of what if I don’t like the book… certainly makes me dizzy. hahaha


You've been noted as one of the top 1% of reviewers on Goodreads.  Congratulations!  Will you tell us how you use Goodreads?  Are you involved in groups? Do you have a lot of interaction with other readers?  What would you like other avid readers to know about the site?

Aw, thanks. I was surprised to find that email myself but was very happy nonetheless. I’ll take this opportunity to thank Goodreads and congratulate the other fellow top 1% reviewers.

Goodreads was quite an unexpected turn of events for me. The day I found out about Goodreads, I loved it on spot and joined. I basically use Goodreads as a rudder for discovering new recommendations; new books, new authors, discussion, sometimes having an overall idea of what I can expect from a book. It’s just so much fun to discuss with my GR buddies! I also use Goodreads for reading reviews/opinions of the other reviewers when I’m interested in a particular novel. I do read the discussions in the various groups I’ve joined, and they’ve proven to be helpful for me to decide if I should read a particular book/author or not.

For anyone who loves books, I’d say just join Goodreads. It’s addictive!

 Have you found that you've bonded with other readers on Goodreads?  Found other readers who share your taste or whose reviews you trust?

I love discussing books with like-minded Romance readers. I have some close GR buddies with whom I regularly discuss books, which often includes mine or their next read. Most of them are avid Romance readers, so the discussion is always lively. In most cases I trust in their judgment, though I always keep in mind that a book might affect me in a totally different way than it had them.


As a person with a lot of Goodreads experience, can you tell us what you like to see authors do on the site?

Goodreads is a great site to promote and interact with anyone who loves books or writes them. Personally, I believe that the authors should communicate more with their readers, which they can start by joining Goodreads. I know they’re very busy providing us with the next scrumptious read but from my experience as a reader, I can tell you that I just love chatting with the authors, learning more about a book and its characters directly from them or discuss about the next release. Sometimes it’s just the interaction that counts, to tell them personally just how much I loved a book written by them.


Just out of curiosity, have you ever traveled to any of the Romance conferences, like RomCon, Romantic Times, etc?

No, not yet. But I hope someday I have the opportunity… :)

I hope so too, I'd love to get together with you some day!  Thank you so much for visiting with us at Lady Scribes, Punya!  Now does anyone else have a question for Punya?  A comment about Goodreads?  And how many books do you read in a month?  Share with us and I'll donate a copy of The Love List to one commenter today!

30 comments:

  1. Welcome, Punya! So glad to have you visit today!

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  2. Wow, Punya, don't know how you find time to read so much and blog as well! I read 45 books last year (per my handy Goodreads tracker) and this year my goal is 50. I like finding other readers who like my genre, Historial Romance, on Goodreads because I get good recommendations and reviews that way.

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    1. Hello Maven, I don't know really, somehow I make time I guess. I just can't spend a day without doing some reading and after finishing a book, it has now become a habit of sort to write a review. I used to be a faster reader but that is not happening anymore. RL just gets in the way, there's nothing to do. This year I challenged myself with only 80 books in Goodreads. Sometimes I'm ahead, sometimes I'm not. Just hope I make it!

      I LOVE HRs and Goodreads is definitely the place to look for recommendations. Always lovely to meet fellow readers, especially of Romance.

      Thank you for stopping by! :)

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  3. Hi Punya!
    Thank you so much for being with us today. I have to admit Goodreads is a mystery to me. I haven't figured out how best to be part of the community, so it's great to have your input. What is the best way for an author to interact with readers on Goodreads without being intrusive?

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    1. Hi Ms. Grace. The first thing I can recommend, is to become a Goodreads author and get to know the site. Then, knowing your readers from their reviews (if they leave one, that is). There are groups where readers discuss their favorite authors. You can often find them genre-wise, like Historical Romance or Erotic Historical Romance, Highlanders etc. Most of these groups are very welcoming. They sometimes invite the authors for question-answer sessions, holding discussions on their books. These are very good ways of interacting with a wide variety of readers or prospective readers.

      Personally, as a reader and a reviewer, I like it when an author presses a 'like' on my review or just leaves a comment. Lets me know that they liked it or just a plain 'thanks'. I appreciate these types of feedback. I've known some wonderful authors this way.

      Hope my answer was helpful to you (I always get carried away when I'm writing... :D).

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    2. This is very helpful, Punya. Thank you. I wasn't sure how reviewers felt about contact from the author, but there have been many reviews that have made my day and inspired me to keep writing. I'll start making it a practice of liking those reviews. :)

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    3. I think they'd love to hear from you Ms. Grace. Yes, it's always possible that a few of them might not be as communicative or shy but the majority will I'm sure. A 'like' or 'thanks' from the author always inspires me to keep reviewing, even when I don't feel up to it at times. :D

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    4. I am so glad you've said this. I've run across a reader who said the opposite and I've been hesitant to do it ever since. But then again that was just one person's opinion and I've always felt like I should said thank you to reviewer. It just feels right. So when the reviewer said she didn't like authors to respond, it kind of threw me for a loop. So your response here has just made my day. I feel better about liking the review or saying thank you now. So thank you!

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    6. Ms. Grant, this interview is absolutely my own opinion. Some people/reviewers might not agree with my words. I'm certainly no authority. But I personally think majority of the reviewers appreciate the author feedback as long as it's not a bashing of the reviewer for a negative review (that has happened in Goodreads recently). And if someone is posting their reviews on public sites like Amazon, Goodreads or a blog, they should be ready for comments, criticism etc. Holding a banner that 'I don't want author response' is not really helpful.

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  4. Hi Punya! Welcome to Lady Scribes!!

    Like Samantha, I haven't really sorted out Goodreads. I'm there and have an author page, but I'm not sure how to interact. When your mind spends most of its time in the 1800s, switching to the 21st Century can be a bit jarring. ;)

    But it sounds like you have a great time over there, I'll have to see if I can sort it out.

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    1. Hi Ms. Stone, so glad to be here! Goodreads can be addictive to self-proclaimed-happy-nerds like me. :D

      Oh, tell me more about the 1800s and I'm all ears (as long as it's not a lecture on History that is!). hahaha I love HRs and do spend a lot of time daydreaming about the Dukes, the Earls, the kilted Highlanders... sometimes even those Rakes and Gigolos. :p

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  5. Hi Punya! Welcome to Lady Scribes! I used to read 2-3 books a week and I miss it so much. I just don't have the time now. :( I'm also a Goodreads author, but the whole place leaves me a little baffled. And terrified. Lol.

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    1. Hi Ms. Bear, thank you.

      Aw, I hope you can make more time in the future. But RL just gets in the way of us all. Especially, busy authors such as you.

      I know sometimes Goodreads can be unpleasant. I've witnessed some bad stuff happening to both authors and the reviewers. It's a shame IMO. However, most of it is fun. If I can help in anyway, please let me know. :D

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  6. Hi Punya! Wonderful to meet you and big congrats on being in the top 1% of Goodreads reviewers!!!

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    1. Thanks Ms. Humphreys! Pleasure to meet you too. :D

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  7. Hi Punya! What a great interview and congrats on the 1% of reviewers! What a wonderful achievement! I would love, love, love to go back to reading five or more books a month again but alas, with three kids, a real job, plus my writing I don't get quite as much in anymore. I am working on reading more though. I just finished Tessa Dare's A Week to be Wicked last weekend. Excellent book.

    We're so excited to have you with us today! I've been on goodreads a little and I've joined a few groups. I interact with the Pirate Romance group occasionally which is a very small group, but I've enjoyed my time there. I haven't tried any of the larger groups yet though. So that's something I need to do. I'm such an introvert that sometimes it's difficult to be more social. You have great tips though so thank you sharing this with us!

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    1. Hi Ms. Grant, thank you! By nature, I'm an introvert too, so I know what you mean. It can be a pain sometimes. I generally like lying low and just doing my thing, even though that doesn't mean I don't like to communicate with people (in this case the authors/fellow reviewers/readers). I'm glad that my tips helped you. Big groups can a be a little daunting, but most GR big groups are author-friendly. :D

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  8. Punya
    Welcome to Lady Scribes! First, congratulations on your attainment of the 1% Goodreads status...that is so, so impressive. This interview was fantastic; it goes into an aspect of the industry that, as a writer, both fascinates and terrifies me.

    I can't wait to check out your blog! And as Suzie said, you offer writers some great (in my case much needed) advice...so thank you for that!!!

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    1. Many thanks Ms. Caldwell. Always glad to be of help. Let me know if you need any help regarding Goodreads. I like helping out the authors. :D

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  10. Hi Punya! ;)

    Congrats on being in the top 1% of Goodreads reviewers. It's great hearing your experience with GR and blogging. I'm actually trying to pick up my reading speed now, to maybe 3 books a week. :)

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    1. Maryyyy! Thanks for stopping by. :p I'm sure you can attain that goal. My reading speed has become so slow since last year that even I'm ashamed of it. *sigh* I wish I could only read all day long, without having to worry about anything. :D

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  11. Punya,

    I am also happy you are with us today. I used to read 2-3 books a week, before children and writing. Most of my reading is now down with audiobooks because it allows me to still "read" when I am driving, cleaning, etc. I do have an author page on Goodreads, but have a heck of a time navigating the site. However, I am pretty sure my husband lives on that site. He has also discovered some favorite authors because of winning books. That alone should be a clue to get my act together and find my way around and participate.
    Congrats on being in the top 1%. That is awesome.

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    1. Hi Ms. Charles, many thanks. I'm chuckling over here reading the 'husband lives on that site' part. I can totally understand. Even though I don't take part in GR giveaways that much, reading ARCs have introduced me to some very good/promising authors in the last one year. Now I'm constantly on the lookout for their next releases. I'm so glad for that because I LOVE discovering new authors!

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  12. Hi, Punya! It's great to have you on Lady Scribes! I love that you are passionate about sharing your experiences of the books you have read with other readers! I've recently gotten on Goodreads myself, as an author and reader, and really started exploring it. I love that their are groups of people out there who I can connect with who love the same kind of books I do. When I was younger, I read all the time, but now that I write full time and have two kids I don't have near as much time, but I still end almost every night with an hour of reading to relax me. I look forward to reading your reviews and finding some new books to pick up!

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    1. Hi Ms. Johnstone, I'm having a lot of fun being here, chatting with the authors and readers alike. So thank YOU for inviting me!

      I can only applaud you all who have kids, a flourishing writing career (even a real job to go with it) and still maintaining a reading schedule. I don't know if I'd be able to do that when I have kids! My dad always tells me to read as much as I can while I have the time, later when I'm too busy, I might regret of not reading enough books. He had once been an avid reader too, but a busy schedule has overtaken much of his time over the years.

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  13. Well, darn. I see the comments I was posting from my phone never made it. But I'm glad the discussion continued without me!

    Thanks for being here with us, Punay--as you can see we really do love to pick readers' brains!

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    1. I'm having a lot of fun chatting with you all. :D

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