Thursday, August 2, 2007

How Wendy Reviews A Book

When The Misadventures of Super Librarian launched way back in 2003, it was little more than a sounding board for me. Over the years it has evolved to include everything from commentary, reviews, to my obsessive devotion to Detroit Tigers baseball. Now, long overdue, I thought it would be pertinent to post somewhere on this site my specific review guidelines or as I like to call them "How Wendy Reviews A Book."

Since severing my relationship with The Romance Reader and The Mystery Reader all reviewing is done on my own time and dime. Over 99% of what is reviewed on this blog comes from my own personal To Be Read stash (which can currently be seen from Venus) or titles I borrowed from work. I do this because I like to talk about what I've read/am reading with other readers. That's it. I don't get paid for it. This is a hobby for me and I adore "meeting" other people who are as passionate about reading as I am.

My grading system is very simple and is as follows:

  • A = OMG this was incredible! Run to the bookstore!
  • B = Very good and recommended
  • C = Average. The good and the bad even out
  • D = Happy beyond words to have finished it. Pretty much awful, with one or two redeeming qualities
  • F = My eyes started bleeding and wouldn't stop
  • DNF = Did Not Finish. For some reason this book wasn't working for me and I couldn't be bothered to keep reading
I am notoriously finicky, so A grades are rare. Likewise, since I am no longer reviewing in any official capacity, so are F grades. Chances are I'll slap the book with a DNF as opposed to slogging my way through to the end. B and C grades tend to be the most common. And just to clarify - on my grading scale a B is very good. No, it really is. You'd be surprised how many readers I've met over the years who were horrified that I slapped a B grade on a book that's resting on their keeper shelf. Hey, I liked it too - chances are a lot - it just didn't hit the rarefied air of an A grade (again, I'm finicky). So get over it. A B is good.

Everyone has a style when it comes to reviewing and mine tends to be focusing on the characters and plot. If you want to know all about historical accuracy in Regency romances or you want someone to dissect larger themes and discuss symbolism - I'm not your girl. I'm a simple girl, with simple tastes. I know what I like, and what works for me, and I stopped overly dissecting novels the minute I got my butt out of college. Personally that sort of thing always sucked all the fun out of reading for me - but everyone's different.

As far as accepting review requests from authors - I do, but on an extremely limited basis. You can ask - and I may or may not accept. A couple of things you need to be aware of:

  • I don't do ebooks Thanks to the awesomeness that is my Sony Reader, I can now accept eARCs and ebooks for review. PDF files only. I do not, and will not, share eARCs or ebooks. I'm a librarian. If you can't trust a librarian to not pirate your electronic book, who can you trust? And yes, I still accept low-tech "dead tree" books.
  • My main areas of reviewing are romance (all sorts), mystery (all sorts) and some women's fiction and historical fiction.
  • I might turn you down. Nothing personal.
  • I try to post reviews very close to the actual release date of the book. You can send me the Advanced Copy six months ahead of time, but it's better for readers if they read the review, then can walk into a bookstore and get the book. Waiting makes them fidgety.
  • If you're interested in inquiring about a review, you can find a link to my e-mail address on my Blogger Profile page.

But before you do, I have oodles of reviews posted around the site. I don't pull punches. If I hate the book, I'm going to say why I hated it (sometimes with some frothing at the mouth depending on how annoyed I am). If I love the book, I'll gush about it from the highest mountain. Here are a few examples of my reviewing style:

Positive Reviews: All U Can Eat by Emma Holly, The Crossroads Cafe by Deborah Smith, Broken by Megan Hart, A Reason To Live by Maureen McKade

Negative Reviews: His Boots Under Her Bed by Ana Leigh, Hot Night by Shannon McKenna, Hard Evidence by Pamela Clare, The Blonde Geisha by Jina Bacarr

Either my style is going to work for you or not. Seriously, no hard feelings. That's the great thing about the Internet - there's literally something for everybody.

And so ends this public service announcement.

5 comments:

Rosie said...

Of course I think you have superb taste because I agree with all those positive reviews. :) Can't wait to see what you throw at us.

Anonymous said...

does any online reviewer discuss symbolism? in a romance novel?
genuinely curious--

Wendy said...

Anon:
Personally, I don't think so - but every few months I see reader comments about how they wish there were. Like I said, that sort of thing always sucked all the fun out of reading for me - but to each his own.

©DGreer said...

How about stops on a blog book tour? Will you host those? I run a Yahoo! Groups for authors planning book tours, and we're always looking for hot blogs that are a good "fit" for a title. More info here:

http://quickest.blogbooktourguide.ever.com

http://blogbooktours.blogspot.com

Dani
hotbuttonpress@gmail.com

Emma Cunningham said...

I'd like to send you some news about Carina Press and possibly some Harlequin novels for review. Do you have an e-mail address I could use? Send it to me at emma_cunningham@harlequin.ca if so. Thanks!