Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Improving Book Reviews
Note: THIS BLOG POST IS A POST FROM JULY 2010 WHERE I DISCUSS BOOK REVIEWS AND REVIEWERS AND THE NEED FOR MORE EDITING AT PROFESSIONAL REVIEW HOUSES COUPLED WITH AVOIDING SPOILERS IN REVIEWS. I WANTED TO REPOST THIS BLOG TO CLARIFY THAT I DO APPRECIATE AND UNDERSTAND THE NEED FOR REVIEWS AND REVIEWERS WHO ARE REALLY JUST READERS. I WOULD LIKE TO PERSONALLY THANK EACH AND EVERY REVIEWER WHO HAS TAKEN THE TIME TO READ AND REVIEW ANY OF MY BOOKS. (Please feel free to comment again about this posting and re-read the comments left last year. Interesting topic. Interesting comments.)
Note 2: TO ALL READERS: THANK YOU FOR YOUR LETTERS AND EMAILS. I'LL BE REPOSTING MANY OF MY ORIGINAL OLD BLOGS FROM 2010. COMING SOON: THE INSPIRATIONAL MARIJUANA BLOG I USED AS RESEARCH FOR DRUG USE IN CIRCLE CITY WHEN I WITNESSED THE EFFECTS OF DRUG ABUSE AND SUBSTANCE ADDICTION. (With links to helpful websites and examples of drug addiction found within art history, modern art and literature from yesterday and today.)
Improving Book Reviews
When I first began my writing career, I knew I'd need to develop a thick skin. Quick! Just to handle all the rejections in the beginning. Too bad a writer's career doesn't come with full body armour. Because we need it sometimes.
I hate reviews. Absolutely detest them. Movie reviews, book reviews, etc. I like making my mind up for myself. I really decided this years ago when I was listening to movie reviewers tell me what to watch and what not to watch. Almost every single time, if they said the movie was great, I was thoroughly disappointed and if they said it was terrible, I loved it. I noticed the pattern and started watching the ones they did not recommend. Then I started ignoring movie reviews all together.
I had one really, really bad review and two reviews that weren't great. The reviewers pointed out flaws in the story but by no means did they trash my book. I admit, it does make my day when I get a great review. However, it is one person's opinion. And a bad review can ruin your entire week.
Here's an example of two reviews for the same book. One is a great review by Bitten by Books and the other one is not so great by Night Owl Romance. (Both are great review houses and greatly help to promote my genre, though I shy away from reviews all together. This is not an attack on either house or the reviewers.)
For me, reviews are simply part of the business I shudder at. Besides acting, what other business in the world do you have your work reviewed by total strangers. Not higher up management but by strangers. Strangers you have never spoken to or ever asked to read your work. You might as well strip naked and say, "Here I am. What do you think?" That's what it feels like for me. Yikes!
Reviewers should be reviewed as well. What do you think writers? I can hear the applause growing out there! Admit it! Some reviewers summarize the book very well without giving away key points. Some spoil it for the reader. Read these two reviews, ignoring which is the more positive review. The review's score is usually explained in the last paragraph. But look closely at the paragraphs before the final one. Read how each reviewer discusses the book. What score would you give each reviewer? I find it interesting as I read reviews that some of the nastiest reviews are poorly written, often giving away the entire plot to the reader. I really wish some of the reviewers would have better editors, making sure the reviewer doesn't spoil the book for others by giving away too much. And reviewing is a form of writing. Some reviewers just are not cut out for it. ~Alisha
REVIEW FOR VOODOO MOON BY STORM AT BITTEN BY BOOKS
In 1825, the Rose Hill Plantation was the horror of Jamaica. Annie, the White Witch, had been orphaned as a child and raised in the blackest form of voodoo. As an evil voodoo priestess, she killed her slaves for the smallest slight and the rest lived in terror. She used male slaves as her lovers, and none lived for long. She made a terrible mistake, though, when she called Talon to her bed. Talon had been a white voodoo priest in Africa before being captured and sold into slavery. Slavery, though, had brought him his wife, Daisy, and he was determined to protect her and end the terror of the White Witch. He planned a voodoo ceremony for Daisy to do while he pleasured the witch, but Daisy’s fear and jealousy caused her to do something different, and that difference led to death and tragedy for all of them.
200 years later, Talon was given a second chance. And although the forest guardian told him to use this chance for healing, he was consumed with his need for revenge. He knew that the White Witch’s spirit still roamed Rose Hill, and now one of her descendents, Tammie, was living there. Talon has to decide whether he will take the path of revenge or the path of love and healing.
“Voodoo Moon” is a powerful, intricate story of the worse and best aspects of humanity. Although love does not conquer all, it endures and teaches. The author has created some of the most authentic and interesting characters I’ve ever met. The tale is full of twists, surprises, terror, creepy atmosphere, and passion. They say that good things come in small packages, and this is a whole lot of story skillfully crammed into a novella.
(Rated 5 out of 5)
REVIEW FOR VOODOO MOON BY VEE AT NIGHT OWL ROMANCE
Aside from the time he’d spent with his secret wife, Daisy, Talin, a slave, has led a tortured life. When his master, a cruel voodoo witch, turns on him and Daisy, Talin, a voodoo master himself, calls on a voodoo spirit for help.
He is turned into a wolf, but before he can rip the witch’s throat out, she succeeds in murdering Daisy.
Both Daisy and the voodoo witch dies while Talin is caught between worlds. Stuck in limbo for 200 years, Talin remains trapped until a young couple dabbling in voodoo unwittingly calls forth his spirit.
Talin is dislodged. Hatred and revenge fill his heart. After orientating himself to the new world, he decides to murder, Tammie, the voodoo witche’s descendant. He hopes to use her death to resurrect Daisy.
For her part, Tammie thinks the house her family left her in Jamaica is wonderful. What will happen when Tammie’s world collides with Talin’s need for retribution?
Voodoo Moon packs in a large cast of characters and plot twists into a short book. Characterization suffers, but there is plenty to hold the readers attention. For my tastes, it was too much, too fast and left too many unanswered questions.
(Rated 3.5 out of 5)