I was very fortunate to meet Anu- Riikka (A.R as most people know her, except for me. To me she’ll always be my BFFT) over a year ago when I first started out on twitter. She’s a feisty lady with a heart of pure gold, and is the hidden face behind the unique Books and Spoons website. Book and Spoons is a combination of my two most favourite things, books and food.
You’ll find reviews on a multitude of books, each and every one giving you a neat and clean insight into the story and plot, all the while not giving too much away. A.R has a way with words that draws you in and piques your interest, and if she’s given it her 5 spoons (Which she gives instead of the boring old stars) you can be sure you’re in for a treat.
Now, talking about treats leads me into the second part of her site: Food. I have to admit I watch out for all her new dishes, and have more than once grumbled to her that my tummy starts rumbling at what I see, but, you really have to see some of the desserts A.R cooks up. Now those are complete works of art, there’s no other word for it. As tasty as they look, they are also just too pretty to eat. I think I’d have to take photos just to look back at them and think “WOW! I ate something that looked like that.”
A.R is originally from Finland but now resides in Norway. She is multilingual, speaking several different languages, but prefers to read in English or her mother tongue Finnish.
Here is what Anu- Riikka from Books and Spoons had to say…
Where did you come up with the name for your blog?
The blog first operated with a name ‘One More Page’ for a month, until one morning I woke up with the new name in my mind, Books & Spoons – and since then I have been handing out Spoons for my book reviews.
What made you decide that’s what you wanted to do?
To blog? That was a long and difficult process, actually.
Not to bore you all to tears, about four years ago I was told that – unexpected consequences after a back surgery had permanently damage some of the nerves going into my legs – The physical, hard, and stressful work I was doing as a chef was doing more damage to my body, and after a year of trying to hang on to it, my doctors pulled me off from my job.
I was told there’s nothing that can be done to fix it, it will only get worse as time goes by, and that I should learn to live with it, and with the pain that is associated with it.
After a year at home, during which time I spent a lot time reading, and making connections to authors and publishers on the social media, I knew I needed something to occupy my time, and my mind. I played with concepts, ideas, topics for a blog in my head, and in conversations with my friends, for a long time, until the format that Books & Spoons is today, was born.
How many books would you say you average reading in a month?
A month?! Huh, now, according the Goodreads challenge, as of last Tuesday, I had reviewed 366 books this year. There are several books I have read, that I haven’t written a review of. But I would say, in an average month, most like from 30 to 40 books.
I know that’s a lot, but I have lots of hours in a day, that physical activity isn’t possible, and I rather fill that time with reading.
Do you have a favourite genre? And if so what and why?
I do have a favourite, I love to read romantic suspense, because I love the elements of danger, mystery, a puzzle to be solved, mixed in perfect harmony with romance. I like how the danger makes the emotions more tense as well, giving the genre a different intensity level all together
You do a food blog every week on a Friday. Where do you get your ideas from?
Little bit all over the place, honestly. Sometimes it is a picture I see on the internet, an article that gives me ideas, or just a great looking produce at the market that I just can’t resist. Or I am craving for something to eat, and make it into a blog post.
And, it is always something that will be served at my house, someone asked why I don’t do more shellfish, since I live in Norway, but simply, allergies, so I think it has been on the blog once or twice in the year and a half.
Do you have a particular meal that you favour?
A meal someone else cooks for me 😀
Nope, not really, I love Italian cuisine, but I don’t think I favour any meal over another 🙂
Out of all the things you cook, what do you most enjoy making?
Basically, I just love playing/cooking in the kitchen, it is my happy place in many ways. My first love was baking, and I still find myself baking when I am having a bad day, if I am stressed out or something like that, it calms my mind.
Where did you learn to cook?
I have always liked cooking. I also worked in a kitchen, when I was getting my Bachelor’s degree. And was working as a baker after school. I got so inspired, that I decided to go back to school, and got my Baking and Pastry Degree as well as Culinary Technology degree at culinary school in North Carolina.
You have a very unique mix, what made you decide to connect the two?
HAH, yeah, really because I couldn’t decide if I would start a food blog or a book blog, so I went with both. Two of my biggest interests. Good thing I didn’t add quilting into the mix as well 😀
How long have you been running the blog?
Since July 4th 2014, As Books & Spoons since August 2014.
For anyone interested in contacting you, what services do you provide?
On the food blog I do the Friday blog – affordable family meals, mostly on the healthy side, with a little mix of baking, celebration of life, and few restaurant visits as well.
On the book blog I mostly do reviews. I am involved with four virtual book tour companies, that I do tour stops, from reviews to excerpt stops, to just book blasts or sales blitz, etc.
Recently I have also opened the possibility for authors to advertise on the book blog page. All the information about that is on the ‘ADVERTISING’ page on the blog.
Here is how you can find Anu- Riikka (Books and Spoons)
I’d like to take this last minute to thank A.R (my BFFT) for answering my questions, and for having the patience to take the time out of her days to do so. It’s been a pleasure for me, and I hope a little fun for her.
Why not join me in following her on Twitter and Facebook, or stop by and follow her blog for lots of reading ideas and some amazing family meal recipes, though be prepared for her Friday Foody, I have warned you about the rumbling tummy ;).