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Book Reviews – Sensitive Subject

Posted by mcm0704 on October 7, 2013 |

Yesterday’s post on book reviews had an interesting response from D.G. Hudson, a writer who has very nice reviews on her blog Rainforest Writing.  Here is what she had to say:

There is an ongoing discussion on what comprises a book review, on many blogs. Is it a review of the book itself, the story, or is it a critique of the author’s writing or subject matter?

I want reviews of the book/storyline, not the critic’s point of view.

I review books on my blog that I’ve read. My style is to tell a bit about the book, the time or era it’s written, and some background on the author if relevant. It’s easy to criticize, harder to create.

D.G. does an excellent job with her reviews, and it is always interesting to read all the information she presents about the book, the author, and other relevant facts. You get a bit of a history lesson whenever you read one of her reviews, and she does tell you what she liked about the story and the characters. She reviews one book a month on average, and her tastes vary, leaning more toward mainstream fiction and literary.

I am aware of the debate she mentioned as to what comprises a review. It is certainly not some of the stuff that is posted on Amazon and other online sites. I have seen some thoughtful reviews there, but I have also seen ranting and even some vulgar postings that have nothing to do with the book supposedly being reviewed. Then there are the ones that simply gush, and often break every grammar and punctuation rule in the book.

Need I say more?

Probably not. I gave my opinion yesterday, so it is better to just move on.

Another good review site is Dru’s Book Musings. She has a regular feature that is written from the POV of a character – A Day in The Life – and it is always fun to get an inside look at the character of a story.

I also always enjoy the reviews done by Helen Ginger over at Straight From Hel. Her blog has a mix of articles about writing or editing, as well as a review now and then, and it is always a good read, especially her FTC disclaimers.  Sometimes those are the most fun.

I wish I could list all the sites that I enjoy, but time time and space limitations prevail. I do, however, want to mention one more, Dear Author. There a reader will find reviews as well as the latest industry news. This is definitely a good site for readers looking for a new book to read and authors who are trying to keep up with all that is happening in this ever-changing industry.

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6 Comments

  • Reviews is a touchy subject, but still important to the selling of a book. I write reviews for books I love, and always concentrate on the story, I don’t feel qualified to give advice, at least not publicly on the writing. Especially since I’m one that makes every grammar error in the book and then some. Thank god for editors!

    Today there is a bit of the ‘mean’ going on, and I don’t understand it, but rumors of other authors trying to sabotage another author, please, please tell me there is no truth to it.
    I post reviews on Amazon, but also a disclaimer saying I’m not a critic. I only post 4 / 5 star reviews for books I enjoy. If I can’t give a book a 4 / 5 I don’t post. May not be fair, but reading and liking is very subjective. What I like, another may not. What I don’t like, another may love.
    Interesting subject, and a discussion that can go many places.
    I judge the book the old fashioned way, the blurb, the cover, the first page – you don’t grab me – I don’t read it!

  • D.G. Hudson says:

    Sounds good to me, Maryann! Different readers look for different types of reviews. I’m following the ongoing conversation on blogs. (Surprised me to see my name – first impression is always: Uh-oh, what did I do?)

  • LOL, D.G., you did good. I was following the discussion on other blogs for a while, too, but got sidetracked the last couple of months. Got sidetracked from a lot. Sigh… Other than having a good discussion like we have going here or what I saw on Kristen Lamb’s blog a couple of months ago, I am not reading much about reviews right now.

    Yolanda, there have been all kinds of nasty behavior by some writers and some fans. One writer friend had soft porn posted as a “review” on her bookpage. Several of us reported it for her, and it was taken down. I am willing to report something like that, but I am basically staying out of the ranting that is going on.

  • One of my favorite review sites is Lesa Holstine’s blog called Lesa’s Book Critiques. She does mostly mysteries.

  • I’m finding that many blogs review genre writing, and far fewer have a soft spot for what I’d call ‘mainstream novels.’

    Novel which may have a love story in them, but are not a category romance. They might have a mystery of some kind, but that’s not the main focus of the story: the characters, plot, and theme are the foci.

    I found your blog because you are one of the few people I know of (yet) who review mainstream – and I’m looking forward to seeing what your tastes are.

    I like reading – and am writing – complex stories which are hard to pigeonhole.

    So I study the blogs and the reviewers and the books I like. I would never disparage what other people are writing – just want to find my own niche.
    Alicia

  • That is a good point about the blogs that focus on a specific genre for reviews, Alicia. I think some of them started because the blog owner is a fan of that specific genre and may not read much outside of that.

    My reading tastes are all over the place, although I do have a penchant for mystery and suspense. I do enjoy a good mainstream novel and like some of the contemporary women’s fiction from authors such as Anne Tyler. I like humor and some chick-lit and some romance, but I am not fond of the books that mix many genres. I do not read much fantasy or sci-fi, and will not read erotica.

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