Sunday, November 11, 2012

Interview: Charity Martinez of 5Girls Book Reviews

The sky over the Shores is clear today. The walls of the beach cabana flap in the breeze coming off the ocean. The sherry in my glass is almost gone, the heady liqueur still honey-sweet on my tongue.

I stand and pack my notebook, pens, and the bottle into my messenger bag. Dinner waits at the cabin on the cliff. As I straighten, the bag over my shoulder, a new sound rises above the roar of the surf. A flurry of giggles floats down the beach.

Funny. I don't remember having a girls' slumber party any time recently.

Throwing aside the tent flap, I step into the sunlight, right into a freshly-spiked volleyball. I rub the sting away from my forehead and look to the source of the assault.

Not ten yards away, a skiff has been hauled up on the beach. Its five occupants are apologetic as they gather round to retrieve their missile for the next point.

Folks, this week I'm pleased to introduce Charity Martinez and her "junior staff." Together they make up 5Girls Book Reviews.

FULL DISCLOSURE TIME: I do have a review request pending with 5Girls. This interview is not an effort to garner a better review for my work. I fully expect an impartial and honest review when the time comes. I just thought this sounded like too good an interview to pass up. So here's my conversation with Charity:

Cyrus: What got you started doing book reviews?
Charity: I turned the dirty thirty and was thinking that I wanted to do more with my life and I love to read and want to share my love of books with others so I decided to start a book review blog. I think by someone having a review handy of a book, it helps decide on if you want to read it or not.

Cyrus:You have several “junior staff members” working with you. What kinds of books are each of you looking for?
Charity: I do have 4 “junior staffers” with me and they have my passion of reading.
Arianna is looking for books that are captivating to her either middle grade, Tween, or mom approved YA. Her favorite author is Rick Riordan and she loves any books that have to do with Greek mythology, dragons, the Romans. adventures, etc. She is more into the fantasy aspects of reading instead of the “girly” aspects. She also loves mysteries. She accepts books in Kindle and print format.
Angel is looking for books that are mysteries, ghost stories, and books that are “girly” in a sort. She does not enjoy the fantasy books like her sister does. She reads mainly MG books, Tween and a few mom approved YA books. She accepts books only in print format.
Michaela is all about art and design. She loves books about God and Jesus. She also likes the “girly” books. She currently reads MG books and can only accept books in print format.
Angelina loves any and all picture books. She LOVES books that have to do with dogs and God. She just turned 6 and loves getting new books to review. She has just started learning to read so she currently is only available for picture books and young children books (i.e. First readers, etc.). She can only accept print books.

Cyrus: What do you look for in a book?
Charity: The main thing I look for in a book is how captivating the blurb is on the back or the inside cover. If it sounds like something I like then I will read it. Books that I read right now are YA, Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction, Christian Fiction, Indie and some mysteries. I am not real big on fantasy/sci fi. I also don’t like reading Erotica. I will admit that I did like 50 Shades of Grey, but I don’t feel its too appropriate to have reviews of books such as that on my blog where my children’s reviews are, however, if someone has a “light” erotica book that they would like reviewed, I would consider it, but I would have to feature it under a special tab on my blog. I haven’t had to make a new tab yet, but I would consider it. I also am a huge fan of the Twilight and Hunger Games Series, so if you have any books like that, I would gladly read them  :-)

Cyrus: What kinds of elements are a huge turn-off?
Charity: A huge turn off for me is fantasy/sci fit, hardcore Erotica, Western and historical romances. I am not big into romances unless they are contemporary YA romance or chick lit kind of romance. No “Fabio” romances for me!

Cyrus: Tell us about your favorite-ever book and why it is.
Cyrus: I have several favorite books, but I would like to talk about the one that I just read that is now in my “favorite” category. I just finished Snow by Kathryn Hewitt (blog tour spot will be featured on my blog November 5) and this book brought out raw emotions in me that I thought no longer existed. It takes a lot for me to get emotional over a book and this one was able to do it. The main character, Ruth, has a lot to handle at a tender age of 15. She is a Godly teenager and then meets Luke and goes against everything she has believed in. She has to make some very hard decisions and her relationship is not a “healthy” one. This book reminded me of my past and difficult decisions and relationships that I chose to be in at one point. I just really think that every teenage girl should read this book as it brings up very tender topics.

Cyrus: Same question for your “junior staffers.”
Arianna’s favorite book is “Dragon Slippers” by Jessica Day George because it’s interesting. It is adventurous like she likes.
Angel’s favorite book is “Deep, Dark, and Dangerous” by Mary Downing Hahn because she likes ghost stories and it is really interesting.
Michaela’s favorite book is “Just Because” because it tells her about the stories of God and Jesus did.

Cyrus: Have you received any review requests on books that just don’t cut muster? What do you do then?
Charity: Yes, we have. In a situation such as this, we notify the author and let them know that the book isn’t for us. We give them the option of us doing a review on what we have already read or just not doing a review at all. We do guarantee that we will give every book the first 40 pages for us to get “in to”. If we are not able to relate with the story by then, we stop and notify the author.

Cyrus: How does one submit a review request to 5 Girls Reviews?

Charity: To submit a request to us, please first check out our blog at and after you have read the welcome tab and still want us to review your book, please email us your request at Please tell us the name of the book, a brief blurb about the book, and the formats you have available.

Cyrus: You seem to have a new venture launching as well. Tell us more about that one.
Charity: Well since our review blog took off so well, we decided to try our hand at organizing blog tours. We have created a new blog for that at and all the information on pricing/packages can be found there. Since we just launched our book tour company, we are giving the first 5 authors/publishers to book with us a 25% discount on the package of their choice.  We also have a special holiday promotion as well, but this promotion CANNOT be used in conjunction with the 25% offer. We are very excited to start helping authors/publishers in getting the word out about their new books (old books too) and hosting tours for them. If you would like for us to book a tour for you, please email us at with  the name of the tour you have selected in the subject line. Please provide us with the name of your book, the package you have chosen, and the date(s) or month(s) you would like to book. We are now accepting tours for the following genres:
Young Adult
Middle Grade
Children's Books
Chick Lit
Contemporary Fiction

If your book is one that is not listed in one of these genres, please email us at and we will gladly decide if it is one that we would like to host for you.

We accept books from publishers and self-published books.
Please help us get our company off the ground!!

If you are interested in hosting tours for 5 Girls Book Tours, please email us at with "Blog Tour Host" in the subject line.

We will need the following information:

Your name.
Blog name.
Blog address.
Email address.

At this time, we do not require a certain number of followers, but we would like you to have at least 1 month of blogging experience. Once we have your information, you will be notified of any new tours coming up by email.

Cyrus: Thanks for stopping by, Charity. Your projects sure sound exciting, and I wish you good luck in getting them off the ground.


  1. Good morning ladies and Cyrus. Great interview. I was lucky enough to have Angel review one of my stories. She had some very kind words and said what her favorite was. I have another story in with them and can't wait to hear what they think.

    Great job ladies and thanks for having them Cyrus

    Penny Estelle

  2. An intersting review setup. But, I don't think any of my books would fit the catagory. Do you charge for reviews? Or just the blog tours?

    It was enjoyable reading about your setup and what sort of books you review. I wish you well with your endeavors.