Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – The Story Reading Ape with his Guest Michelle Clements James

Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post:

Here is the second post from Christopher Graham, The Story Reading Ape. He suggested that having such an extensive archive, that I share some of his guest posts. It serves another purpose apart from showcasing that guest, as it is reminder to you that Chris loves having new guest write for his blog. This week I am sharing the guest post in 2014 of Michelle Clements James who is a wonderful supporter of this blog too and most of yours I would imagine.

The Story Reading Ape – and his guest Michelle Clements James

I am a reader, not a writer. So why am I blogging?

I am a reader, and I blog about sharing the books I love whether romance, historical fiction, chick lit, biography, memoir, fantasy, classic, contemporary fiction, and children’s books. What I will never read are thrillers (I even hid behind a pillow during JURASSIC PARK). My blog is a place to talk about current reads, and many of the wonderful books I’ve read over the years, as well. Occasionally I throw in a post about my family. I recently participated in the A to Z Challenge to write a post every day during April. I invite comments and recommendations to all posts.

A bit about me…

I was born and raised in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio and raised my children here as well. I went to college at the University of Cincinnati and majored in Geology with a minor in German and in English.

After college, I entered the workforce, but soon left that behind when my children were born. While raising my sons, I embarked on a fulfilling volunteer path for such groups as our local children’s hospital, church, neighborhood association, PTA, classroom volunteer, Kindervelt (a local non-profit to benefit Cincinnati Children’s Hospital), military academy parents’ organization, and Make-a-Wish. Volunteering enabled me to develop lifelong leadership skills and establish an extensive professional and social network.

Of course, I have always been a voracious reader, seeking out books that are both satisfying and enjoyable. I have endeavored quite successfully to pass my love of reading on to my sons and grandchildren.

I am married to my soul mate and have three amazing adult sons and two wonderful daughters-in-law. At present count, I have three grandsons and a granddaughter. My grandchildren bring me the greatest joy imaginable.

From a Reader’s Point of View

I started blogging to share my thoughts on books I’ve read and a few other things besides (grandchildren included). But, I am a reader, not a writer as is clearly stated in the first line of the  About page on my blog Book Chat. So why am I writing now? We-e-e-l-l, Chris the Story Reading Ape asked me to write something from a reader’s point of view.

Do I like to read? You bet! I will read anything I can get my hands on – short stories, the newspaper, books, poetry, magazines, cereal boxes. You get my point. I say anything, but that’s not quite true. I don’t particularly like science fiction, and I refuse to read anything spooky. No thrillers for me…none…zilch…nada…NEVER!


Reading books is by far my favorite, so what do I look for in a book?

  1. Characters that seem real are a must. This to me is the most important attribute. I want to get to know the characters, have a relationship with them whether friend or foe, good guy or bad. I want them to have depth, to be flawed, have the same problems as everyone else. And…I want them to be memorable!
  2. Plot. Plot is the second aspect I look for in a book. I expect something that is plausible and yet intense. I want it to pull me in from the start. I will read as far as a hundred pages, and if it hasn’t hooked me, I will go no further. Hey, there are too many fish in the sea books to settle for something that is sub-par. Give me a unique story line. Nothing is worse than reading a book that retells the same story with different people and places. Surprise me! Be creative! Give me something new! Do your homework. Don’t tell me every detail, lead me there. Just show me the way and leave room for my imagination.
  3. The ending? Again surprise me. Don’t be predictable. I don’t want to figure it out half way through the book (why finish?). Bring your story to an ending that is unforgettable. Leave me with a moral quandary to ponder. Please don’t just ride off into the sunset.

If a book doesn’t hold my interest in the above three areas, I will probably not pick up another by the same author.

Will I read a book that expresses political or religious beliefs, cultural or racial differences? Absolutely, but my reviews are about what is written, and are not necessarily my personal views.

Am I critical of the author? Yes and no. I will tell it as I see (or read) it, but I don’t believe in trashing a book or its author. It is perfectly okay for you to like a book I can’t stand or for me to love one that you couldn’t bring yourself to finish. My goal is that the reader, after perusing my reviews, will find a book worthy of his/her time.


E-Book or Physical Book? I love the feel and smell of a real bound book, but the convenience of being able to take a couple of books (okay, okay – a LOT of books) on my e-reader wherever I go is hard to resist. It is my favorite travel companion. There is no more finishing a book and wondering what to do for the next hour of the flight. I just start the next e-book.


Ok folks, I’ve got to go. I hear another book begging to be read, but if you’d like to visit with me, you can find me at the following online links:

My WordPress BlogMy Tumblr Blog


About The Story Reading Ape

It does not matter if you blog once a week, once a day or several times a day but it does matter that it is consistent. We all love the fact that people who have dropped in on the off chance keep coming back for more. In my opinion it is down to the quality of the posts and also the expectation that readers will find something of interest.

The Story Reading Ape has this down to a fine art and the list of subjects that adorn his enclosure is lengthy. He is certainly a huge supporter of Indie authors across all genres and stages of their career and offers articles and information that is invaluable.

Chris has also published a volume of his mother’s poetry

One of the reviews for the collection

A charming book that reflects a woman’s life and times in verse…and humour. Rosie and Willie had me chuckling, especially as I can see just where Willie is coming from! The poems are written from an Irish perspective, but there is much a Yorkshirewoman can recognise.

The verses about the Troubles made me think. I could feel the pain in the words. “What matters is the depth of God’s sighs.”

There are memories that I seem to remember through my own mother and grandmothers’ tales, of a time now gone and a world awakening before a young woman’s eyes.

And the story of the Old, Old Man had me in tears.

Published by her son as a labour of love, in tribute to his mother, Agnes Mae Graham’s work stands up all on its own.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

and Amazon UK:

Part of Chris’s immense enclosure is given over to The Great Hall of Fame… This is where Indies can exhibit their work by penning an article talking about themselves and their work. (Talk about a writers dream!) Once posted the author is then elevated to the Hall of Fame to reside with hundreds of other authors from around the world, who have taken that exciting but challenging step of being a published author.

Connect to Chris


My thanks to Chris for allowing me to access his archives… and I am sure he would love your feedback.. thanks Sally.

47 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – The Story Reading Ape with his Guest Michelle Clements James

  1. That was fun, Sally. A bit of Michelle and a bit of Chris. 🙂 I like hearing from readers about what they love about books, their priorities, and approach to reading and reviewing. I’m with Michelle in that characters come first for me too. 😀 Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Great post, Michelle and Chris! When I’m reading I get hooked by the characters first, but setting plays a key part as well. I like a sense of where the story takes place- especially if it’s a country I’ve never been to.
    As an author I work hard to bring these elements into my stories as well (hopefully with some success :))

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Weekly Round Up – Bloggers, Authors, Music, Health, Food and Funnies. | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

I would be delighted to receive your feedback (by commenting, you agree to Wordpress collecting your name, email address and URL) Thanks Sally

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