This fall, I am starting a fun new feature. Over the course of the next month, I will be sharing Featured Cozy Blogger posts, where I share with you some of my favorite cozy mystery bloggers. Some posts will simply be a spotlight highlighting a blog I enjoy. Others will be an interview or guest post.
I’m excited to introduce you to the first Featured Cozy Blogger at Brooke Blogs. Today, I am sharing an interview with Mark, the blogger behind Carstairs Considers. I adore reading Mark’s reviews. His review format is awesome, listing pros and cons, as well as “The Bottom Line” for each cozy mystery book he reviews. Mark also shares reviews of Hallmark ornaments, Disney pins, television shows and movies, and more. I always know I am going to read an honest, well-thought out review from Mark. Thank you so much, Mark, for being my first Featured Cozy Blogger!
Hi, Mark! Welcome to Brooke Blogs. Please introduce yourself to my readers.
Hi Brooke. Thanks so much for having me.
As I like to say, I’m an accountant by day, but a reviewer at heart. I’m a California native who migrated to Southern California to go to college and never left. My family, however, is still up in Northern California, so I go up as often as I can to visit them.
Tell us a little bit about your blog and why you started blogging.
I’ve actually been reviewing for years at Amazon and another, now closed site. I started my blog to have one spot for all my reviews that was mine and much less at the whim of another company.
My blog is Carstairs Considers, Carstairs being an internet user name stolen from the Mrs. Pollifax series. Since my reviewing background is from sites that encouraged reviews of anything and everything, you’ll find book reviews (of course) as well as movies, TV shows, Hallmark ornaments, music, and whatever else catches my interest. It’s a way I keep my interest in reviewing after all these years.
What do you love about cozy mysteries?
I’ve loved mysteries since I was a kid – from the Nate the Great pictures books on up to the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown, and Trixie Belden. What I loved about those is what I love about cozies – the puzzle. I enjoy trying to figure out who done it and why before the main character does. I’m not as successful as I would like to claim to be, usually because I second guess myself. I also enjoy the fact that these books keep violence, sex, and language to a minimum.
Do you have any go-to authors?
This is where I am going to get in trouble for leaving someone out, isn’t it? 🙂
Seriously, there are a lot of authors I keep going back to time and time again because I always enjoy them. Most of these I’m up to date, but I read their latest as soon as I can get my hands on it. Donna Andrews and Laura Levine are two that spring to mind since I’ve been reading them for 15 years or so. I also love Sue Ann Jaffarian, JoAnna Carl, and Rhys Bowen. And a couple older series that I still love are the Mrs. Pollifax series by Dorothy Gilman and the Madeline Bean Mysteries by Jerrilyn Farmer. Both are well worth tracking down.
And, of course, I’m finding new authors all the time. I could really go on and on listing authors I enjoy that I’ve found this year alone.
Do you like to read any other genres?
I read a few darker mysteries, but most of the novels I read are cozies. I will take breaks to read middle grade books. Some are mysteries and some are fantasy. I find that there are some great books being written for kids today. A couple go to authors in that genre are Shannon Messenger (for fantasy) and Stuart Gibbs (excellent mysteries).
If you were the main character in the last cozy mystery you read, who would you be?
I’d be Liz McCall, the main character in Barbara Early’s fantastic Death of a Toy Soldier, the first in her new Vintage Toy Shop Mysteries. Barbara is another go to author. See, I really could have gone on and on in response to that question.
What do you like to do when you’re not reading? Do you have any other hobbies?
I’ll follow a good story anywhere, so I do watch a lot of TV and movies. When not being a couch potato, I play ultimate Frisbee and train for mud runs (something I heard about from author Sue Ann Jaffarian). I’ve also joined a bowling league through work, and I’m enjoying bowling on a regular basis again.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell my readers about you or your blog?
I’ve always enjoyed telling people what I was reading or watching and enjoying, and my blog gives me a great outlet for that, and I’m connecting to people who actually are interested in the same things I am. I love that. Plus it keeps my real life friends from having to listen to me drone on about the latest thing I loved that they could care less about. Because I’ve been known to do that a time or two. I just get so excited I can’t help myself.
Thanks again for having me here today, Brooke. This has been a lot of fun.
You’re welcome! It was my pleasure. I’m sure my readers enjoyed your visit as much as I did.
You can visit Mark at Carstairs Considers and on Facebook.
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Thanks so much for having me here today, Brooke, and for such a fun interview.
You’re welcome, Mark! I had a great time interviewing you. 🙂
Nice feature and Mark was a great choice.
Thank you, Dagny! 🙂
Nice interview, I follow Mark on his blog and FB. I find that his reviews on books are very similar to my taste so if he gives it a thumbs up I am sure that I’m in for a good read.
Thank you, Debbie! I agree, Mark’s reviews are definitely on par with my reading tastes as well.
This was such a fun interview and I am looking forward to exploring these mystery authors. I am just getting into the genre and haven’t found too many favorite authors yet. Thanks!