Wednesday, October 26, 2011

One Reviewer’s Take

I want to thank Anita for having me on her blog today.  It’s really an honor.  Most people don’t want a reviewer on their blog much less having them talk about reviews.

Okay, right to it…a little background on myself.  I live in East Texas, raised in Dallas, married with one son in 1st grade and work an EDJ.  I review for CBLS Reviews, The Romance Studio and The Forbidden Bookshelf.  I also have a review blog that I update semi-regularly.

Why the information about me?  To let you know, that I’m a real person, with a real life and real everyday issues.  I’m not a god, a fairy, or an ogre.  I bleed just like you do.  Why the dramatics about me?  I have some things that I want to talk to you about reviewing and what goes through my mind when I’m reading a book for review.

1. I get to pick the books that I review.  Bet you didn’t know that?  Well, I do and I choose books/authors/publishers that I normally don’t read or know much about.  I pick books that are way out of my comfort zone.  When I decided to review, I decided that I wouldn’t read books or authors that I was comfortable with.  In the year that I began reviewing, I have found authors, genres and publishers that I seek out on a regular basis.  I have been given books to review from authors for my blog and again, I follow the same guidelines if I was reviewing it for one of the sites that I review for.

2. When I review a book, I look for the following:  plot (does it hold my interest), characters (do I even like them), flow (am I having to start and stop all the time) and lastly, did the characters connect emotionally and was it believable?

3. When writing a review, I don’t give out spoilers, the ending, the conflict, nor do I give out plot points.  I will however, talk about what I did like about the book and what I didn’t.  I hate when book review blogs from individuals give you a dissertation on the book.  I mean, why buy the book in the first place?  The blog already told you everything that you needed to now and more.  This is becoming more and more commonplace with so many people reviewing books on their blogs and it really pisses me off.  I have books on my Nook that I bought that sadly, I’ll probably never read because of it.  Grrr…

4. Also, if you get a bad review, just remember, its only ONE reviewer’s opinion.  Some people are going to love your stuff and some won’t love it.  Reviewing is subjective and therefore, should be taken with a grain of salt.  That said if the review is snarky and/or down right rude and mean, please, please let the review coordinator/owner know.  That should not be tolerated at all.  That does happen and it puts all reviewers in a bad light.

5. Lastly, why do I review?  I review because I love to read.  Period.  Some reviewers crave the power they have over an author but for me that’s the wrong reason to review.  I review for the simple pleasure of reading and then telling people why I liked it.

If you’re an author, tell me some of your experiences good or bad with reviewers.  No names, please.  If you’re a reader, what do you look for in a review?  I’ve listed below links to where I review to check me out.  I look forward to hearing from you. - personal review blog - Marika is my review name - Kate is my review name

One last thing, contest…to one commentator a GC of $10 to either B&N or Amazon.  And you thought reviewers were stuffy and not human?

Thanks Marika for stopping by this is great stuff,



  1. Hi Marika:
    I'm a new author and was intimidated by reviews until I looked closer. Some offer more than a glowing comment that you can't put the book down. You're right the ones that list the story are out of place.
    My first review had delays in the mss reaching the reviewer. The lady was persistent, kind and the review is more than I ever expected. Thanks for your blog.
    Una Tiers

  2. Thanks Una,

    For commenting, I can understand about being intimidated by reviews. Marika reminds us reviewers are human.

  3. Hi Una! We bleed just like everyone else. And trust me, I have friends that I argue with over books all the time. I don't particularly care for a very popular author that most women worship and I get in healthy discussions about her all the time. Thanks for coming by.

  4. Good to see you, Harlie!

    You're a respectful, fair reviewer and I admire that and it is much appreciated. Although you've not reviewed my book, I have read your reviews and love your respectful, honest approach.

    Keep up the good work!

  5. I also like your approach. I think all reviewers should take a chance, tell us like it is, as thoughtfully as they can. :) I want to know what you liked/didn't and why. That's a review.


    billi jean

  6. Very good points, Marika! Thanks for sharing the (good!) reviewer's perspective!

    As a reader (but very infrequent reviewer), while I sometimes appreciate a "blurb" like intro for the book, what I really want in a review is why the reviewer liked or didn't like the book. If the reviewer is articulate, that helps me decide whether the book is one I would enjoy, whether or not my tastes completely align with the reviewer's. Reviews that say, "LOVED it!" or "It was the worst book I have ever read!" but don't say WHY are completely unhelpful.

    And truly, reviewing well is a gift--it's not easy to summarize one's feelings about a book in a way that makes sense for someone else to read. It's why I *don't* review--it's hard! :)

  7. I agree. Biggest thing with me...please don't tell me EVERYTHING that happens in a book. Why should I go out and buy it if I already know what happens?