Tag Archives: reviewing books

So Long, Farewell!

This is a hard post to write. Saying goodbye is never easy.

Personal circumstances, including finishing my book, have prevented me from keeping my blog in a place to achieve significant readership. Currently, I feel it lacks the readership writers and publishers deserve when entrusting their books to a reviewer.

For those of you who have been faithful followers, I will continue to review books but at my other blogs, Sherrey Meyer, Writer and Sowing Seeds of Grace. Feel free to visit me at either one or both blogs, and see what I’m reading.

All posts will remain active here, and the archive of books reviewed will also be available to anyone landing here.

It’s been a great journey through the pages of many books, and the greater joy has been in meeting the publishers, writers, blog tour hosts, and the many friends I’ve made along the way.

Looking Back at 2013 and Ahead to 2014

I may be a day or two late but I’ve been held hostage by a bedridden husband suffering severe back pain. Still, I wanted to look at the highs and lows of 2013 and give a peek at what might be happening in 2014.

I began Found Between the Covers in February 2013, having decided I wanted to separate my books reviews out of my writing blog, Sherrey Meyer, Writer (formerly Healing by Writing). The process of writing and publishing a book seemed ill-suited to be combined with reviewing books within the same blog.

And Found Between the Covers was born. During the year, I’ve learned a great deal from many of you about book blogging and book reviewing. Lest I overlook anyone, I would like to say thanks to all who have supported me and encouraged me. Book bloggers are great people.

Top 10 Posts: 

Things I Learned:

  • There’s a lot of record-keeping in reviewing books on a regular basis (enter Excel spreadsheet!).
  • People never read your Review Policy *sighs here*.
  • Attempting to write your own book and reading others’ works can be mind-boggling.
  • Attempting to write your own book and reading others’ works is very educational and filled with the do’s and don’ts of correct grammar and the need to proofread carefully.
  • I’m a good bit older than the rest of you *sighs again*.
  • I love books too much! NEVER!
  • Book bloggers are a great community!

Goals:

  • Continue to give quality reviews for all books.
  • Closed to accepting more reviews as of December 3, 2013, and uncertain when I’ll reverse this.
  • Several review requests from individual authors and publishers will be completed as promised.
  • After realizing my following is not large enough to support giveaways, I will likely discontinue this practice.
  • Attempt to be a better community member by reading more of your reviews and commenting.
  • Consider closing Found Between the Covers down as soon as above-referenced reviews are completed.

The reasoning behind this last goal is two-fold:

  1. I have set a goal of finishing my manuscript in 2014, including two or more rounds of self-edits, obtaining a professional editor and proofreader, and preparing to shop my book to publishers. This entails focus on platform building, branding and marketing (A. LOT. OF. TIME!).
  2. In the year I’ve blogged here, my following hasn’t grown to a level I feel is fair to the writers, publishers and tour groups for whom I’m reviewing books.

A lot of thought will go into any decision to drop Found Between the Covers as it has fed my love of reading and desire to share the best of the books I read with others. However, there may be other avenues I haven’t yet discovered.

Thank again to those who have supported and encouraged me here.

pink_girl_happy_new_year_2014

 

How to Review a Book in Eight Easy Steps

Today I’m over at Kathy Pooler’s blog, Memoir Writer’s Journey. Kathy asked me to share with her readers, and mine, what process I follow when reviewing a book. Writing this post didn’t come as easily as reviewing a book does, but I now have down just what I do when I review a book, no matter the genre. So, here goes!

~~~

“A good, sympathetic review is always a wonderful surprise.”
Joyce Carol Oates

Loving books and reading them has been a part of who I am since childhood. The only thing that has changed is that now I review books.

When Kathy invited me to talk about how to review a book, I mentally stopped in my tracks. 

How does one explain the process of reviewing a book?

There are many online sites where you can review books — on a blog, at Amazon, Goodreads and other book outlets.

Recently, author Jody Hedlund shared some “creative” reviews of her book, Noble Groom. Take time to look at these — they are interesting and unique. Although I tend to stick to standard reviews, you may find something that is a perfect fit with your blog or a book you’re reading. And one day I may step outside the box. For today, however, I’ll just stick with explaining my standard method.

Come on over to Kathy’s blog to read the rest . . .

Demolishing Ratings and Recommendations

booksBooks are paper bound together by covers
of a variety of materials and images.

Until the review is written . . . and then
the reviewer is expected to “rate” the book by choosing
a certain number of stars.

And thus begins my tale of confusion and woe.

When I set about to segregate my book reviews into a single blog, I began to think about the ways in which Amazon, Goodreads, and other bookish sites want to manipulate reading choices by the use of stars (numbering 1-5) and then providing recommendations for our family, friends and neighbors.

So, I decided to do the same.  I hate it when first I’ve behaved like a copycat, and then it did not work!

Soon I become uncomfortable with deciding which 5-star rating scale to work with.  If I wanted to cross-post a review on my blog to either Amazon or Goodreads, or both, which rating scale was I going to use?  Have you noticed they are NOT the SAME???

Let me share a quick comparison:

  • Amazon’s 5-star rating system, with one being the lowest rating, takes you from I hate it to “I love it” with the other three stars somewhere in the middle; and
  • Goodread’s equal in number system, with the same number being lowest, ranks books from “did not like it to “it was amazing” with an equal number caught in the middle.

Now, I ask you how does this help the person reading the review?  Likely, they have their own translation of the stars system, or they ignore it.

But before I pull the plug and demolish use of stars, ratings and recommendations, I decided to check out Kirkus Reviews to ascertain what, if any, rating system they use.  A single star rating is all that Kirkus gives — and it ranks a book as one of  “exceptional merit.”

Wanting to be certain all bases were covered, I then a look at Story Circle Network, an organization to which I belong and which has a team of reviewers posting reviews frequently.  AHA!  They don’t use a rating system.  I didn’t think so, and I was right.

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, this blog will no longer rate by anyone’s star system and will not give recommendations to specific groups of readers.  The demolition begins . . . 

demolition

Click on images for attributions.

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