Friday, July 27, 2018

Meet Book Blogger Sarah Barnhart of The Barefoot Reader

This month's interview is with Sarah, a book blogger I recently 'met' (online) and thought you'd all like to do so as well!

Deb asks: how long have you been reviewing and how did you decide on the theme for your blog?  

Sarah answers: I’ve been seriously reviewing for about a year and a half now, but didn’t start my blog until March of this year. Before that, I was just posting my reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, and my #bookstagram. I noticed as I continued to review and grow on social media, I started to get more opportunities to work with authors and publishers. I figured if I wanted to continue on this journey and grow even more as a reviewer, then I should start a blog. And now I have and couldn’t be happier! I love absolutely love it! 

As far as themes go, I’ve always loved the warmer and cozy types, so I knew that’s what I wanted for mine. I wanted my blog to feel cozy and I guess in a way, intimate: like sitting with a friend and enjoying a cup of coffee. J

Deb: Definitely! Some blogs just come across as more relaxing. But there's so much a blogger wants to put on that page! Hard choice!
What’s the best part of being a reviewer?  

Sarah: I’d have to say the best part of being a reviewer is that I get to read and share incredible stories that I really enjoyed or that have touched me in some way with fellow book lovers like me. I also get to help promote the author’s work and help spread the word. And you know, the fact that I usually get a free book doesn’t hurt either. ;) 

Deb: Free is good (until the TBR pile tumbles!) 
What’s the most difficult part of the ‘the job’?  

Sarah: For me, it’s reading the book and getting the review up in time if the publisher or author has given me a specific date. I’m pretty busy with classes, my day job, and volunteer work, so trying to manage all that plus writing reviews is kind of tough. I’ve had to say ‘no’ to quite a few different opportunities because of it. It just wouldn’t be fair to the author/publisher or myself if I said I could do something and then not follow through with it. Not only would I disappoint myself, but I would be letting them down, too.

D: Saying no can be difficult! Writing that review can't always be a fifteen minute effort. Sometimes the words just don't want to come "on demand"! 
What was the last book you read that you couldn’t put down?

S: The Life After series by Julie Hall! It’s a Young Adult Christian fantasy series and it’s amazing! I loved it so much that I binge read the whole series within a week! (Here's a link!)

D: Excellent Word of Mouth! What keeps you busy or entertained (beyond reading and reviewing!)? 

S: Hmmm…good question! My family definitely keeps me entertained! I usually go hiking with my sisters and my mom when I can. It’s something we’ve been doing for years now.
I also like to listen to music, watch my favorite musicals or Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn movies, hang out with friends, go shopping at used bookstores, and snuggling my cat, Rascal. 

Deb's favorite!
D: And you didn't send along  a photo of Rascal! Oh dear!

What is your fiction favorite…setting? Place and time? Genre’?  

S: Don’t make me choose! There’s so many! This is a tough one. I’ll give you my top three genres: 1) Fantasy-Chronicles of Narnia type stuff. 2) Biblical Fiction-I love reading about the Kings of Israel and the disciples. 3) Contemporary Suspense/Mystery- Terri Blackstock and Irene Hannon are my go-to’s.

D: That's a great mix of genres! Wow! When I discovered Christian fiction, the suspense stories were my favorite, so I've definitely read my share of these.
What person from history would you most like to text with?  

S: Text with? Besides Jesus? I’d have to say King David, Katherine Hepburn, or George Washington.

Unlisted Number!
D: If you had a rainy afternoon alone to watch a movie what would it be? And what meal would you have delivered if that afternoon included a quiet evening as well? I’m paying with my virtual bank account!  

S: You’re paying? Well, okay then! Okay, so if it’s a rainy afternoon, then I’ll most likely be watching Pride and Prejudice (2005 Version) or some sort of musical (usually a classic or Disney-related). And then I’d order some Japanese curry! That stuff is delicious!   

Worth the time on so many levels. One of the best film scores ever!
D: If you could wiggle your nose and be in your dream career, what would it be? Or are you already living it?  

S: My dream career is to become an author, own my own orphanage (kind of like Tim Tebow) or have an organization where I can help orphans, and own my very own library. The author part is still in progress along with my non-profit organization, but as for the library…we’ll see. ;)

D: What piece of advice would you offer authors who are just starting out?  

S: Become better acquainted with social media and social media marketing. I love seeing authors on social media share what’s going on with their writing, sharing behind the scenes, updating readers on their books, sharing exclusives, interacting with their followers, and just being themselves! It helps us as readers to get to know you on a more personal level. And learning social media marketing will really boost your exposure and books, which is something you want!

D: (Deb makes face at those three words: social media marketing). Sighs. (and smiles!)
But ignore me and tell me what you'd say to new reviewers— 

S: Write honest and considerate reviews, even if you didn’t necessarily like the book. Don’t bad mouth the author, simply share what you didn’t like about the book and why. And if you have multiple books you have to review by a certain date, schedule your reading time. I’m speaking from personal experience. I was SUPER behind last year on reviews because I wasn’t being intentional about it, and because of that, a lot of my reviews were late. And learn to say no. If you’re like me, then you want to say yes to review as many books as you can! But the reality is, you can only do so much, so choose the books you KNOW you can review. The ones you want to review the most. Be honest with yourself and be considerate of other people’s time. 

D: Thanks so much for being my guest, Sarah. I wish you continued success and hope more readers head on over and follow your blog!


  1. Hi Sarah,
    I'm so glad we finally got this one going after a crazy spring and summer. Thanks for being my guest and bringing your enthusiasm for fiction to the blog today! I hope more readers and authors find their way to it! Except now I want to binge watch some classic movies!

  2. (Oh, and your 'wintery' photo really helps on a hot day!)

  3. Hi Sarah & Deb!
    Great interview!! It’s always fun meeting new bloggers and fellow book lovers!

    1. Thanks for popping in, Trisha! one of our blogger 'alumni'! It does make a difference to learn more about a blogger , which is why I enjoy these so much.

  4. Thanks for having me on your blog, Debra! I had a lot fun with this experience! And I think I might watch a classic myself tonight. ;) His Girl Friday sounds like a good one.


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