As I continue to develop this blog and create structure in how I go about it, I wanted to give some insight as to what I will be reading and what to expect as you follow my site.
Full disclosure: I do plan on having affiliate links (when I get the time to set it all up), as well as links to my own Usborne Books and More site. Readers aren’t required to buy anything, of course, but I sure do appreciate your contributions to my work!
More full disclosure: As much as I love books, I’m on a very tight budget. Most books I read are purchased inexpensively, through library sales, thrift stores, or as gifts from loved ones. Some books, however, will be given to me by authors and/or publishers specifically for the purpose of reviewing. I am required to make a note in my review if I was given the book by its author/publisher.
No classics: Because so many people have read these, I don’t find reviews of them to be very helpful. There is such a common knowledge about the classics we read in school (Dickens, Austen, Bronte, Tolkien, etc.) that most everyone knows what they are about without even needing to read them. I just don’t find writing those to be a good use of my time. I’d rather focus on lesser-known books by lesser-known authors to help those authors gain a following. Or warn you against them if they are truly terrible (but there won’t be many of those–see “Five or Fifty Rule” below).
Requests: If you are a lay person (just a fellow book-lover) who wants to suggest a book for me to read and review, you may email me (email@example.com) and provide that title to me. I may or may not read it; it would depend on the book’s availability to me (cost, mostly). However, if I do read it, I’ll make a note in the review as to who suggested it. If you want to make sure I read and review a specific book (and if you are not the author or publisher), you may send it to me as a gift or loan–just email me to make arrangements.
Authors and Publishers: If you would like me to review a specific book for you and be part of your street team, please email me and we can talk about it more off-blog. Same goes for giveaways and specials. Street team or compensated reviews will also be left on Amazon. And I will be honest, so keep that in mind.
Beta reading: If you are an up-and-coming author who wants feedback on their book, you may contact me via email to discuss parameters and method of sending. I can beta read for you privately without reviewing online, or I can delay the review until publishing.
Which genres? Mostly fiction, though I do plan to review health, parenting, and devotional books. Some fiction will be Christian; some will not. I hold interest in many genres, though some hold more or less interest than others. More interest: historical, fantasy, comedic/witty tone. Moderate interest: mystery, crime/suspense, corporate power struggles, surreal/abstract (as long as plot can be followed and it isn’t too muddled). Less interest: horror/thriller, political intrigues, sports, law drama. The more of a mix there is, the better. A book with multiple genres mixed is ideal, even if some of the aspects mixed in are of less interest to me.
Series’: I like series’. I love really getting to know a character in-depth and entering their world. I love the anticipation of watching an author’s page and waiting for that newest installment to be published. It’s great fun. But I know some series’ come in sets of five, or even ten books, and for some, it may make more sense to review the series as a whole than to attempt doing each book individually. This is especially true when the synopsis of the subsequent book includes spoilers for the first book (for instance, “John and his new wife Susan go on vacation…” when the first book about John was a “will-they-won’t-they?” romance and him choosing Susan wasn’t revealed until the very end). So take note that some reviews will be for a single book, and some will be for a whole series.
Five or Fifty Rule: I have a rule with reading. There are too many good books in the world for me to waste my time on bad books. I value my time too much for that. So I will read either five chapters or fifty pages of any book to give it an honest shot. But if I’m not enjoying it and it doesn’t hold my interest, I will stop reading at that point. Now, some books I will make an exception for, particularly if these are books given to me by a publisher. If you are compensating me for my time, I’ll go ahead and read it–but be warned that if I don’t like it, I will explain exactly why I didn’t like it. Some reasons I’ve given up on books in the past include: It was boring; The plot was not clear and the tone was rambling; The grammar was too atrocious; It was all run-on sentences and it drove me crazy; It was a poor representation of the character’s supposed profession/identity; It became too predictable. In lieu of full reviews, these will be shared in posts detailing a few books at a time, accompanied by the reasons I let them go.
So there is my basic outline of what I read and what to expect from me. Any questions?