Blogs by L.T. Suzuki
It's All About the Books
8/9/2010 8:03:41 PM
A Round Table Discussion with Three Book Reviewers!
Welcome readers to my weekly blog. Usually, I feature an author or writing tips, but this week you’re in for something a little different as this is my first round table discussion with three fascinating ladies, each of whom happens to love the written word enough to review and blog about the books they’ve read.
Now, as an author, I must admit that those who take the time to read and go on to review these novels have always intrigued me. With so many titles available as ebooks and in print, how does one even begin to choose one? And what happens if you are asked to review a book, but it falls flat, so much so you can’t even finish the read?
Today, Joanne Chase of Cut to the Chase Reviews, Nicole Hicks of Howling Good Book Reviews and Adrianna Colwell of Book Goddess No. 1 have offered to share some of their insights, favorite books, and more! Because these ladies share some very helpful, interesting advice to those in the business of writing stories, I felt that rather than editing their comments down to fit nicely on this page, I’ve chosen to split this interview into two parts. For your enjoyment, here is Part One:
LTS: First of all, ladies, welcome and thank you for offering to guest blog today! Let’s start the session with this question: why this love affair with books? Was the love of reading cultivated early in life?
JC: I learned to love reading at a very early age (thanks, Mom & Dad), starting with bedtime stories and going to the public library every Saturday morning to listen to story time and to pick out new reading material for the week. I’ve probably read well over a thousand books in my life.
NH: Hey thanks for having us! I learned at an early age to love reading as well! The ability to lose yourself in another world has always been an escape, and joy, for me. My parents introduced me to books also, although I don’t think that they expected for me to read so much! Lol
AC: Thank you for asking me to participate in this interview. I have always loved to read and from a very young age would always read every night. I think books are one of the most important things to love and have instilled this love of books in my boys as well. I believe that if it is typical to spend time reading everyday, then you will become a good reader and enjoy it very much. I never get bored and try all different genres.
LTS: What made you decide to post your reviews online?
JC: I set up my website when Claudia Jackson, wife of Steven Jackson (author of Death of a Cure) asked me if I could write a review, after I had told her how much I enjoyed reading his book. I couldn’t post it on amazon.com (as Claudia had asked me to do) because, living in Canada, I only have an account on amazon.ca. I put together the website to post the review and just kept going after that, with invitations on Twitter and Lulu inviting authors (mostly self-published) to submit their books.
NH: I was actually going through review sites online, roughly 5 years ago, and decided why not see if they wanted more reviewers since I read so much. Surely I could do that too, and I actually got accepted! After that I worked with another site as a reviewer before opening HGB. I enjoy it, working with the authors to get their names out there! It is as fun and rewarding as editing!
AC: I was interested in starting a blog and gave some thought to what I was passionate about and turned to my love of reading. I decided to give it a try and found that I really enjoyed it. I am honored to be asked to write reviews by authors and publishers and hope that my following and requests will increase as I become a better blogger.
LTS: Do you have a favourite genre and if so, what is it and why?
JC: I’ll read anything from philosophy to psychology, Stephen Hawkings, Carl Jung, and of course fiction – fantasy and mystery-crime novels are favourites of mine. I don’t watch a lot of television; I entertain myself with books instead. The one thing I don’t like is extreme violence.
NH: Like Joanne, I also read a lot of genre although I love gore! Right now I am in a paranormal/scifi kick for personal reads. I love paranormal because of all the possibilities it offers!
AC: I also enjoy reading an array of different genres and must say that I do enjoy psychological/medical thrillers and also historical novels and I do not mind gore in my books if it fits in with the story.
LTS: With thousands of titles coming out each year, both in print and as ebooks, how do you make your reading selection?
JC: I pick books by recommendation, mostly. Someone may tell me about an author they particularly enjoyed or lend me a book they’ve read, and I’ll look up for more on the same author if I enjoy their writing. My partner, Claude Bouchard, has written five mystery-crime novels and came into my life six years ago with a library of hundreds of paperback novels, which I devoured.
NH: I allow my reviewers to choose their books that we are offered by the publishers and/or authors. Whatever appeals to them. As for myself, well I work with the authors and publishers. I read so much that I read practically anything, so it works out well!
AC: I usually alternate between books I have chosen, book club books and ones I have been asked to review. I find this mix keeps me interested and makes it so it is not work at all, but a very enjoyable pass time and passion.
LTS: This will probably sound petty, but I often do judge a book by its cover. Sadly, the ones I tend to steer away from are the ones designed by self-published authors who happen to fancy themselves as artists as well as novelists (often, it’s their mother or grandmother who has convinced them that they are fine artists as well as writers). These are the ones with hand drawn and colored images that look like they were created by a school children and yet, the book was not written for a child!
Do you judge a book by its cover? Has there ever been a book that had a cover design that really piqued your curiosity? Enough that it made you want to buy the book?
JC: No, it’s more the summary on the back of the book that will make me want to buy a book.
NH: Honestly yes, sometimes I do judge a book by its cover. There have been some covers that initially made me pick it up and look through it. But the reverse is also true in that sometimes I have gotten a book despite the cover. I think we buy with our eyes. It’s true with food and books, at least with me.
AC: A cover design might catch my eye so that I would pick it up and find out what it's about, but it would not necessarily make me buy it. I prefer to go by reviews as I know there were some books I have read which I did not think the cover had anything to do with the story, but the book was excellent.
LTS: In writing a review, what are some of the elements you must consider to give the book your top rating?
JC: First and foremost, the writing HAS to be up to par. I know that sounds obvious, but spelling/grammar/wrong words takes SO much away from reading a story. Next, the story line has to flow well, whether it’s the action in the plot, the descriptiveness, or the poetic prose – it has to move along in some way. Keeping plots and subplots interesting, entangled, and suspenseful are always key to me as well.
NH: I agree with Joanne, the first must be syntax and flow. Especially since I edit, if the flow and syntax are not up to par, then it detracts from the story and my ability to “lose” myself in it. The ability to keep me entertained, the descriptions (although some are well done with less descriptions), the factor of if we would reread and suggest to all of our friends are also factor in the highest rating. It is a matter, I think, of how much the story “blows us away” as both reviewers and readers.
AC: I also agree with you about the writing as reading a book full of errors is distracting and irritating. A book that I would want to read again and again would get my top rating. The book needs to excite me, stretch my imagination and be an all around good story and characters that I actually care about.
LTS: Very good, interesting responses, thank you! Overall, reading should be a fun, entertaining endeavor and not a chore. As an author, I know firsthand that no matter what you write or how you write it, it’s impossible to please all the people all of the time. And when you do make your book available to the public, an author must know it will be up to public scrutiny. With this in mind, without naming names, have you ever dealt with the wrath of an irate author after you’ve posted a less than favourable review? How did you handle it? Is there a tactful way to give a negative review?
JC: I don’t post unfavourable reviews. If someone submits a book that I find isn’t well written I will send them an email pointing out what I didn’t like and why. I don’t think publicly bashing someone is productive. Most people who submit books to me for review are independent, self-published authors, sometimes lacking the editing help that they need. And then there are also people who simply don’t know how to put sentences together properly and I just can’t read it.
NH: Well, I try to keep in mind that authors take a risk when they publish. That putting their work out there is very similar to letting your child go to college. I think that some reviewers forget that authors are people too, and become biased. It is important, I believe, to remember that even if you don’t like a book there are respectful ways to say what it was that didn’t agree or grab you. But even doing it respectfully- such as using the oreo technique- you get some authors who will heatedly disagree with your interpretation of their work. All you can do at that point is respectfully agree to disagree, in my opinion. I don’t believe that it helps anyone if there is a huge “scene” made out of it. As you stated, not everyone can be pleased whether it is a reviewer, author, or normal reader.
AC: As I reviewer, I do think it is important to point out flaws which may help the author in the future but you also need to be encouraging. I do not believe in bashing someone but would for example point out that perhaps more editing would be appropriate before publishing - this has happened and the author was very grateful for the helpful suggestions.
LTS: You ladies are so diplomatic! That is why I write stories rather than review them! I’ve had friends buy books written by bestselling authors because they were familiar with their works, and then they’d be so angry when they discover it was nowhere near as good as their earlier works! Now, if my works fell into the ‘bad review’ category, I’d certainly want to know why. And I’d also hope that book reviewers will help steer potential buyers away from making the purchase because really, who wants to feel like they’ve been ripped off after paying good money for a book?
Return next week when Joanne, Nicole and Adrianna discuss what elements in writing gets the failing grade in a book review, how they make their book selection, the future of print vs. ebooks and more!
In the meantime, feel free to read some of their posted reviews on their websites at:
Joanne Chase, Cut to the Chase Reviews:
Nicole Hicks, Howling Good Book Reviews: http://bit.ly/asSa0p
Adrianna Colwell, Book Goddess No. 1: http://bookgoddessno1.blogspot.com/
Post a Comment
More Blogs by L.T. Suzuki
Carlie Cullen Interview - Saturday, August 24, 2013
Kit Grindstaff Interview - Saturday, August 10, 2013
Shannon MacLeod Interview - Saturday, August 03, 2013
Brian Rathbone Interview - Saturday, July 27, 2013
Graeme Ing Interview - Saturday, July 20, 2013
Alison DeLuca Interview - Saturday, July 13, 2013
Christine Nolfi Interview - Saturday, July 06, 2013
Sara Furlong-Burr Interview - Saturday, June 29, 2013
Tamela Buhrke Interview - Saturday, June 22, 2013
Heidi Garrett Interview - Saturday, June 15, 2013
Loren Kleinman Interview - Saturday, June 08, 2013
Leanne Shirtliffe Interview - Saturday, June 01, 2013
Hannah Fielding Interview - Saturday, May 25, 2013
Erica Lucke Dean Interview - Saturday, May 18, 2013
Amber Lea Easton Interview - Sunday, May 12, 2013
Ruth Nestvold Interview - Saturday, May 04, 2013
Rose Garcia Interview - Saturday, April 20, 2013
Robert Pruneda Interview - Saturday, April 13, 2013
Lance Burson Interview - Saturday, April 06, 2013
Rachel Thompson Interview: - Saturday, March 23, 2013
Samantha Martin Interview - Saturday, March 16, 2013
Lisette Brodey Interview - Saturday, March 09, 2013
Jack Whyte Interview Part Two - Saturday, March 02, 2013
Jack Whyte Interview Part One - Saturday, February 23, 2013
Molly Greene Interview - Saturday, February 16, 2013
Dionne Lister Interview - Saturday, February 09, 2013
Anita Reynolds MacArthur Interview: - Saturday, February 02, 2013
Alicia Kat Dillman Interview - Saturday, January 26, 2013
John Gregory Hancock Interview - Saturday, January 19, 2013
Adriana Ryan Interview - Saturday, January 12, 2013
Jennifer McConnel Interview - Friday, January 04, 2013
S.M. Boyce Interview - Saturday, December 15, 2012
James Tallett Interview - Saturday, December 08, 2012
Melissa McPhail Interview - Saturday, December 01, 2012
Roz Morris Interview - Sunday, November 18, 2012
Tania Johansson Interview - Saturday, November 10, 2012
Dale Ivan Smith Interview - Sunday, November 04, 2012
Respect Your Readers - Sunday, October 28, 2012
Greta van der Rol Interview - Sunday, October 21, 2012
Justin Bog Interview - Saturday, October 13, 2012
Thanksgiving Day: Gratitude - Saturday, October 06, 2012
Steena Holmes Interview - Saturday, September 29, 2012
Kenneth Hoss Interview - Saturday, September 22, 2012
Patty Jansen Interview - Saturday, September 15, 2012
Joshua E. Bigger Interview - Saturday, September 08, 2012
Joyce Damask Interview - Saturday, September 01, 2012
Marketing & Twitter - Saturday, August 25, 2012
Henry Herz Interview - Saturday, August 18, 2012
Kristin Bair O'Keeffe Interview - Sunday, August 12, 2012
William Linde Interview - Saturday, August 04, 2012
Micheal Rivers Interview - Saturday, July 21, 2012
Robert James Russell Interview - Saturday, July 14, 2012
Becka Sutton Interview - Saturday, July 07, 2012
Canadian Authors Feature - Saturday, June 30, 2012
Gini Koch Interview - Sunday, June 17, 2012
M. Pax Interview - Saturday, June 09, 2012
Karina Halle Interview - Saturday, June 02, 2012
Novice Writing Mistakes - Sunday, May 27, 2012
Pippa Jay Interview - Sunday, May 20, 2012
Glenn Starkey Interview - Saturday, May 12, 2012
Maurice G. Nicholson Interview - Saturday, May 05, 2012
How I Select Followers on Twitter - Saturday, April 28, 2012
Shaun Allan Interview - Sunday, April 22, 2012
Darlene Foster Interview - Saturday, April 14, 2012
Kim Aleksander Interview - Saturday, April 07, 2012
Hope Collier Interview - Saturday, March 31, 2012
John Kolson’s Writeado: A New Online Writing Tool - Saturday, March 24, 2012
Jeff Shanley Interview - Saturday, March 17, 2012
Stephen England Interview - Saturday, March 10, 2012
Everett Powers Interview - Saturday, March 03, 2012
The Kindle Prime Experiment - Saturday, February 25, 2012
Edward Lazellari Interview - Saturday, February 18, 2012
Connie J. Jasperson Interview - Saturday, February 11, 2012
Sally Dubats - Saturday, February 04, 2012
Selecting Writers For My Author Feature - Sunday, January 29, 2012
Tarek Refaat Interview - Sunday, January 22, 2012
Toby Neal Interview: - Saturday, January 14, 2012
Thomas A. Knight Interview - Sunday, January 08, 2012
Linda Poitevin Interview - Sunday, January 01, 2012
2011: A Year in Review - Monday, December 26, 2011
Angeline Kace Interview - Sunday, December 18, 2011
Eden Baylee Interview - Saturday, December 10, 2011
Cyndi Tefft Interview - Saturday, December 03, 2011
The Conference Experience - Sunday, November 27, 2011
A.R. Silverberry Interview - Sunday, November 20, 2011
Suzy Turner Interview - Sunday, November 13, 2011
Patti Roberts Interview - Sunday, November 06, 2011
Raine Thomas Interview - Sunday, October 23, 2011
LK Gardner-Griffie Interview - Saturday, October 15, 2011
Jonathan Gould Interview - Saturday, October 08, 2011
Brian Rathbone Interview - Saturday, October 01, 2011
Matthew Merrick Interview - Sunday, September 25, 2011
Dean Lappi Interview - Saturday, September 17, 2011
J.T. Ellison Interview - Sunday, September 11, 2011
Carolyn Arnold Interview - Sunday, September 04, 2011
John Kolson Interview - Sunday, August 21, 2011
Megan Curd Interview - Saturday, August 06, 2011
Elena Aitken - Sunday, July 31, 2011
When Book Reviews are Misleading… - Sunday, July 24, 2011
Deborah Riley-Magnus - Saturday, July 16, 2011
Jessica Subject Interview - Sunday, July 10, 2011
J. Alexander Greenwood Interview: - Sunday, July 03, 2011
When Social Networking is no so social... - Monday, June 27, 2011
Dannie C. Hill - Monday, June 20, 2011
Shay Fabbro Interview - Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Genevieve P. Ching Interview - Monday, June 06, 2011
Al Boudreau Interview - Monday, May 30, 2011
Jennifer Hudock Interview - Monday, May 23, 2011
Paul Mansfield Keefe Interview - Monday, May 16, 2011
Rusty Fischer Interview - Monday, May 09, 2011
Jason McIntyre Interview - Monday, May 02, 2011
Emlyn Chand & Novel Publicity - Monday, April 25, 2011
Steve Umstead Interview - Monday, April 18, 2011
John Betcher Interview - Monday, April 11, 2011
Kimberly Kinrade Interview - Monday, April 04, 2011
Inspiration & Where You Find It - Monday, March 28, 2011
Christie Yant - Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Amy J. Rose David Interview - Monday, March 14, 2011
George H. Sirois Interview - Monday, March 07, 2011
Linda Nagata Interview - Monday, February 28, 2011
Adventures in Editing or... Is it Done Yet? - Monday, February 21, 2011
Greg Messel Interview - Monday, February 14, 2011
Jen Wylie Interview - Monday, February 07, 2011
Katie M. John Interview - Monday, January 31, 2011
How Do You Measure Success: - Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Avery Tingle Interview - Monday, January 17, 2011
Kristie Cook Interview - Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Ren Cummins - Tuesday, January 04, 2011
A Wish For the New Year - Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Trish Wolfe Interview - Monday, December 20, 2010
Jesi Lea Ryan Interview - Monday, December 13, 2010
Cat Connor Interview - Monday, December 06, 2010
How to Make a Story Ring True - Monday, November 29, 2010
Sharon Bially Interview - Monday, November 22, 2010
Donna Carrick Interview - Monday, November 15, 2010
Brenda Sedore Interview - Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Robert Feagan Interview - Monday, November 01, 2010
Of Book Signings, Volunteering & Option Agreements… - Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Daryl Sedore Interview - Monday, October 18, 2010
Seven Day Blog Tour Begins October 17th - Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Todd A. Ritter Interview - Monday, October 04, 2010
Cheryl Kaye Tardif Interview - Monday, September 27, 2010
Claude Bouchard Interview - Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Dr. Peter Clement Interview - Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Elizabeth Isaacs Interview - Monday, September 06, 2010
Introducing a New YA Fantasy - Monday, August 30, 2010
Interview with Author Gene Doucette - Monday, August 23, 2010
It's All About the Books Part 2 - Monday, August 16, 2010
It's All About the Books - Monday, August 09, 2010
When to Abandon Your Manuscript - Monday, August 02, 2010
1st Anniversary Blog: A Celebration of Authors - Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Kathy Chung & the SiWC Part Twp - Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Kathy Chung & the Surrey International Writers Conference Part One - Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Deanna Jewel Interview - Tuesday, July 06, 2010
The Happiest Indie Author (me) in the World! - Tuesday, June 29, 2010
The Author Effect - Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Jacqueline Pearce Interview - Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Peggy Richardson Interview - Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Wendy Nelson Tokunaga Interview - Tuesday, June 01, 2010
The Importance of a Critique Group - Saturday, May 29, 2010
Zoe Winters Interview - Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Zoe Winters Interview - Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Tonya R. Moore Interview - Monday, May 03, 2010
Write On Bowen! - Monday, April 26, 2010
Dayna Hester Interview - Monday, April 19, 2010
Luke Romyn Interview - Monday, April 12, 2010
Rhonda Carpenter Interview - Monday, March 29, 2010
Lacey Weatherford Interview - Monday, March 22, 2010
K.M. Weiland Interview - Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords Interview! - Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Jo Lynne Valerie Interview - Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Dan McNeil Interview - Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Catherine McKenzie Interview - Tuesday, February 16, 2010
8 Years of Writing! 8 eBook Winners! - Sunday, February 07, 2010
Birthday Blog (or an Ode to Aging Gracelessly) - Monday, January 18, 2010
Interview with Paranormal Author Kate Austin - Monday, January 11, 2010
Riley Carney Interview - Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Ask an Editor - Monday, December 28, 2009
Lee Edward Fodi Interview - Monday, December 21, 2009
Interview with YA Author James McCann - Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Researching Historical Fiction with Diana Gabaldon - Tuesday, December 08, 2009
kc dyer Interview & Enter to Win an Autographed Novel! - Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Bev Katz Rosenbaum Interview - Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Writing Tips I Learned from Terry Brooks - Tuesday, November 17, 2009
An Interview with Tamara Sheehan - Monday, November 09, 2009
YA Author Loreena M. Lee Interview - Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Why Do I Blog About Other Authors? - Thursday, October 29, 2009
Critique by Author Jack Whyte - Tuesday, October 27, 2009
BookCamp 2009 - Monday, October 19, 2009
Participating at VCON 34 - Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Therese Walsh Interview - Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Interview with Debra Purdy Kong - Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Twitter – The Power of the Tweet - Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Part Two: Publishing in a Foreign Market - Tuesday, September 15, 2009
An Interview with author Christopher Belton - Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Part Two of the Caroline Leavitt Interview: - Thursday, September 03, 2009
An Interview with Author & Book Reviewer Caroline Leavitt - Tuesday, September 01, 2009
An Interview with Kathleen Bolton - Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Interview with author/artist Scott Kessman: - Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Interview with author/artist Scott Kessman: - Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Part 2 of the Kim Falconer Interview - Thursday, August 13, 2009
An Interview with Kim Falconer - Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Part 2 An Interview with Alan Baxter - Thursday, August 06, 2009
An Interview with Alan Baxter - Tuesday, August 04, 2009
If You Write It, They Will Come (buy it)… Not! - Sunday, July 26, 2009
Lori A. May: Author Extraordinaire - Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Merits of a Writers Conference - Sunday, July 19, 2009
Part 2 Publishing in the Digital Age - Thursday, July 16, 2009
Publishing in the Digital Age - Monday, July 13, 2009
Writing Tips for the Novice Novelist - Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Flog the Blog - Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Do's & Don't of a TV interview - Saturday, June 27, 2009
Mortality & Writing - Friday, June 26, 2009
The Art of Editing 101 - Tuesday, June 23, 2009
How To Write When Suffering from Bad Memory Retention - Saturday, June 20, 2009
Finding Inspiration from Others - Thursday, June 18, 2009
To Blog or Twitter... - Tuesday, June 16, 2009