Review Guidelines

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 specific guidelines on my book reviewing style, as well as other "book content."

After several years with The Romance Reader and The Mystery Reader (1999 - 2007), I severed my relationship with both sites after it became apparent to me that I could no longer do that sort of heavy review lifting.  And by heavy lifting, I mean reading whatever the heck shows up in my mailbox/inbox.  Reviewing on my own blog, and over at The Good, The Bad And The Unread, allows me to be more selective, and it's a method that's working for me right now.

Everyone has a style when it comes to reviewing and, these days, mine tends relaxed, chatty - like going out to lunch with your best girlfriend and telling her about some awesome book you just read.  I also tend to put a strong focus 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 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.  Also, I'm not an expert (by any stretch of the imagination) on issues like "craft" or "writing" in general.  When I mention things like that in reviews, it's always from a reader perspective.  Did I find it clunky?  Did I find it lyrical?  That's about as deep as I get.

My grading system is very simple and is as follows:
  • A = OMG, this book was so awesome I want to marry it and have babies with it.  Also, very important, I want to drop everything and immediately re-read it.  I have a TBR that can be seen from space, so if the book is so fantastic I want to brave TBR Guilt and do a re-read?  Yeah, it's full of awesome.
  • B = This was a very good book and I would recommend it.
  • C = Meh.  This was an OK book.  Average.  It probably had some stuff I liked, some stuff I hated, and it all came out in the wash.
  • D = I popped a bottle of champagne to celebrate that I was done slogging through it.  Pretty awful, but with one or two redeeming qualities.
  • F = So awful that my eyes started bleeding.
  • DNF = Did Not Finish.  For whatever reason the book wasn't working for me and I couldn't be bothered to finish it.
I am notoriously finicky, so A grades are rare. Even rarer? 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 since I've had to justify it over the years, a B grade on my scale is very good.  I liked the book.  Enjoyed it.  In some cases it might have been very good.  But it, for whatever reason, didn't pass my need-to-reread-it-sometime test.  So yeah, B = Good.

I do accept review requests from authors and publicists.  Here are a few things to consider:
  • This blog is run by one person.  Me.  I'm it.  So there is a possibility I'm going to tell you "no."  It's nothing personal.  A lot of times it comes down to my schedule.  I do not want to promise a review if I'm not confident I can deliver in a timely manner.
  • I'm open to romance and mystery requests.  I'm open to just about everything in mystery.  In romance, I'll read pretty much everything except paranormal.  I'm just really, really burnt-out on paranormal right now.  But feel free to ask, because if the premise sounds intriguing, I might just say yes.  Ya never know....
  • I do read e-books.  I own a Kindle, and use Calibre (so file conversion isn't an issue).  Preferably I prefer either the Kindle format or EPUB. 
  • I shoot to post reviews close to the release date.  So if you send me the ARC six months in advance, be aware the review won't go live until readers can actually purchase your book.
  • At this time, I'm not really doing things like author interviews or blog tours.  I've done a few of them in the past, but generally speaking when I do things like this?  It's an idea I generated on my own (or with blogging friends), and not something I was approached with by a publicist.  Nothing against these types of posts, but not something that I think is always a good fit for my blog.
Before you fire off an e-mail to me, I encourage you to explore the blog and read some of my reviews.  I calls 'em likes I sees 'em.  If I don't like the book, I'm going to say why I didn't like it.  If I love the book, I'm going to say why I loved it.

A Grade Reviews
B Grade Reviews
C Grade Reviews
D Grade Reviews
DNF Grade Reviews
Month In Review Recap Posts
(Please note: I was blogging back in the stone ages before "tags."  Which means I'm still slogging through my archives tagging old posts.  Sigh)

Either my style is something you're comfortable with, or it's not.  No hard feelings.  That's the great thing about the Internet.  There are a plethora of book blogs out there now, and there is literally something for every taste.

Updated and posted 7/7/13