To review or not to view.

Over the years that my blog has existed, I have not done many reviews. I have meant to get around to reviewing some photographic equipment too, but something always pops up. I guess that is part and parcel of being Aries. Oh, look! Shiny … new … pretty! Now where was I?

Recently, I’ve started reviewing some of the books I read, or have been asked to review. I must confess that I have avoided this for the longest time and the reason is very simple: I loathe giving people bad reviews. There are enough negative people filled with the desire to unleash distasteful rhetoric wherever they go. I do not wish to be part of that movement. I have coined a term for it: “Review Rage”.

So why am I telling you all this? Who cares, right? There is always madness in my method so, logically, I’m meandering up to the crux of the matter. I’m now being asked to do reviews for books and my digital reading pile is growing. I am a little puzzled as to why people are asking me, of all people, but I like reading — and writing when I get a chance — so I’m getting to know some new authors.

Perhaps people see that I do not have any negative reviews on my blog and feel that I am a “safe” bet. There is a justification for this and it leads me to my review policies. While I appreciate being asked to do reviews, I must point out that there are three basic rules for getting a book review from me.

The first rule is that I only review books that I enjoy. If I don’t feel that I can give it at least a ‘middle of the road’ rating, I simply say nothing about the book. At worst, you will get no review at all. I will also not read books about subjects that make me yawn. I read for pleasure, not irritation.

My second rule is that I do not enjoy reading about excessive or gratuitous violence, prejudice, or anything that glamorises rape or abuse. Generally, I do not read about war, gore, or material of a negative nature. If in your plot just about everyone dies, the survivors are miserable and live unhappily ever after, please get someone else to read your book. Seriously, there are plenty of readers for dystopia, but I’m not one of them.

My third, and last, rule is that I don’t always have time to read much, and it can take me a while to get to your book. If you are content to wait for a few weeks (at most usually) until I get through the pile, then all is well. It is not an excuse, and this is not a business. I am not paid to review. It is more of a mutual favour. I get to read great books, and if I love yours, I will tell everyone.
I use a seven star rating on my blog because there is a massive difference between awarding four or five stars as per Amazon’s system. It gives me more room to give an accurate review. Four is middle of the road, and it is okay, but not exactly mind blowing. Five is a good book but could be better for whatever reason. Six means the book is brilliant but I’m not happy with something. Seven is when I loved the book so much I paid no attention to anything else but the story.

While I do provide services that deal with designing covers and formatting books, I do not really judge a book by those standards. Things happen along the process of publishing and sometimes it goes unnoticed until a reader spots it. Any reviewer who thinks a book must be perfect and without flaw before it can be given a full star rating is clearly an …. Let’s just say that anyone who has ever published a book understands this more than most. A good book makes me forget all about the typos. If all your paragraphs start with “and” … be forewarned!

You can contact me either via Facebook of from my website. If I decline to review your book, I will tell you, but please understand that it is not personal. You do not want an honest, yet bad review. I try to be positive about everything, but sometimes it is a challenge. |

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