About Playing Jokers

Playing Jokers is a blog hosting book news and reviews. Our little tagline to explain the name quickly is: all suits of genres and bookish news. The name is derived from a username Michelle has used for years: deckfullojokers. The original meaning behind that is that what we post can be a deck full of wild cards–you never know what’s going to come next. Jokers also can be used as the trump card in certain card games. We appreciate both those meanings and wanted to continue with its theme. This is not just a young adult blog. Or a romance blog. Or a historical fiction blog. It is an all-things literature and words blog.

Contact Information

Email: playingjokersblog@gmail.com | Facebook | Tumblr | Bloglovin’

Behind the Plays

Michelle, Founder & Co-Blogger

My name is Michelle. I am a twenty-something year old who consults in the Washington, D.C. area, currently doing work with emergency pj_memanagement. I have a B.A. in English and Government & International Politics and am going to school part-time for an M.A. in Communication. But that’s the boring part. 

I grew up without a television in my bedroom. What seems uncommon these days with most families, I was instead encouraged to read. I had to go to bed by 8 pm but I could read until whenever.

With some brief lapses, I have stuck to the idea that reading a book before going to bed is the most therapeutic thing.

Reading is:
* a release;
* an adventure;
* an education; and
* a lifestyle.

As one of my favorite high school teachers taught me, “Pages in, Pages Out.” In order to be a good writer, one has to read. In that vein, I am a writer as well as a reader. I live happily in a world balanced by words.

Type of books I read:

I read just about anything. However, I think I am the biggest fan of fantasies (high or urban, or anything in between), historical fiction (and nonfiction), dystopia, and some science fiction and mysteries. Contemporary novels can be hit or miss for me and I don’t find most comedies as funny as other people.

Reviewing style:

I do not review formally. I generally end up just going with a mood and letting the word vomit ensue. I rate and review books on my own enjoyment of the book, which is subjective by its very nature. While my enjoyment of a book can be based on any number of things, I do not weigh the book against any other scale. I review fairly and honestly, understanding that there is something in every book for anyone.

 Goodreads | Twitter | LibraryThing

Christina, Co-Blogger

I am Christina and I was born and raised in Virginia…lived there all my life and love it. My favorite hobbies include: anything sporty, exploring the outdoors through camping and hiking with my boyfriend and dogs, reading, traveling, and sampling a Christinagood glass of Virginia wine. I have a B.A. in History with minors in American Government and in Classical Studies and a M.A. with a focus on Early American History. I am passionate about history which tends to drive my reading selections…

Reading is an escape I look forward to… it takes you to a new place each time, or allows you to return to a place you love. To me, nothing is better than laying in the hot sun by a pool with a good book in hand.

Types of books I read:

I particularly enjoy historical fiction, with some of my favorite authors being Ken Follet, J.R.R. Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, James McPherson, and so on.

Reviewing Style:

I tend to review books starting with an overall summary of the book, followed by the things I liked most as well as some critiques. Usually I’ll incorporate examples of my favorite parts (or least favorites) to support my opinion, which tends to include page numbers from the edition I read as well. I also try to note if the reading is on a topic I’m less excited about or uninformed about.


Calvert, Contributor

My name is Calvert. I am a student in the Washington, D.C. area pursuing a Chemistry major with a double minor in Forensic Science and French.calvert

Like Michelle, I was raised without much television, in fact the only programs I watched with any frequency were on Animal Planet! However, I was encouraged to read whatever and whenever I wanted. I was such a speedy and voracious reader that eventually my mother gave up on actually buying me books, and instead would just let me sit in the bookstore. After a few hours I would have quite a pile of finished books.

I find reading is a great escape from the weight of the world. As much as I enjoy spending time with friends, there is nothing I enjoy more than curling up with a good book.

Types of books I read:

I gravitate mostly towards fantasy, science fiction, and thrillers/mysteries. I will read just about anything though. The only two genres that I just don’t like at all are political and romance.

Reviewing Style:

When I review I take into consideration grammar/general writing level, plot construction and resolution, character development, and my level of enjoyment. But ultimately it is subjective.

Goodreads | Twitter

Ellen, Contributor

My name is Ellen, and I am a Virginia native who moved from the beach to the DC area. I received my B.A. in Weintraub-Ellen-PhotoHistory and am currently pursing a Masters in History with New Media and Information Technology emphasis (wow, that’s a mouthful). Basically I will be learning how to portray history in a technical age – think digital exhibits, archives, etc. Outside of school, I enjoy painting, photography, running, lounging at the beach or pool, examining new A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF) theories, and a good Doctor Who binge on Netflix.

I was not an early reader, if anything I remember protesting the readings I had in 1st and 2nd grade. Talking animals were not something I related to. Like many others, Harry Potter changed my mind about the “magic” of reading. After the first movie was released, I read all the published books in about 3 weeks. After waiting for midnight releases, the remaining books were read in a day each.

To me reading is an adventure that allows you to experience a new world and culture. Whether on my Kindle or book in hand, I can lose track of time with a good story.

Type of books I read:

I am the biggest fan of series – Harry Potter, A Song of Ice and Fire, The Century Trilogy, Hunger Games, True Blood, and the list goes on.. I love getting to know characters and having the more personal connection that a series supplies. Historical fiction (Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men is one of my favorite non-series books), historical non-fiction, fantasy, and a hint of science fiction with dystopian society are the genres I enjoy most.

Reviewing style:

This will vary depending on book. For non-fiction, I tend to critique more on style and argument. When reading fiction, my biggest concern is the quality of the story and the character development. I am more forgiving on vocabulary, grammar, and editing as long as the plot is exciting.


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