Sunday, March 21, 2010

Book Reviews

Some of you may know that I also do book reviews for Freshfiction.com
I had to take a hiatus for a few years when I got sick, but since my health has improved, I have been doing reviews again, since February.
I have a WIDE range of reading interests and my reviews reflect some of that. The only genres I really don't like include horror and generic modern literature like 'women's fiction'. I have enjoyed romances of all kinds from inspirational to erotica, but books like those in Oprah's book club so far, leave me cold. I have read horror I enjoyed ('The Talisman' by Stephen King and Peter Straub) but it was an anomaly. I have yet to read a book marketed as women's fiction that I truly enjoyed, and usually, I end up tossing the book across the room before I am half finished. Unless I am writing a review, life is too short to read a book that pisses me off.
Of course there are books of other genres that have triggered the Dorthy Parker treatment from me ("This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force") but for some reason a high percentage of my book tossings can be classed among generic 'modern literature'. I think I get suckered in by the back cover blurb, then revolted by writing that tends to take itself too seriously, and uses plot contrivances that get in the way of a good story, well-told. My strong reaction comes (I'd guess) from a sense of betrayal, of false advertising. I also dislike books centering around abuse of any sort, and the overcoming of same. I have no problem with someone else enjoying them, but for me, nuh uh.
Yeah, I can be a bit judgmental, but if I can't choose the books I read simply on the basis of what I enjoy rather than what other people find 'enriching', reading loses its purpose for me. I read fiction first and foremost for entertainment. Full stop. I occasionally get more than that, but it's a side benefit, not the purpose of the book. I also enjoy non-fiction, but I read that to satisfy and spark curiosity.
That being said, I really enjoy the serendipity of getting books from Fresh Fiction and not really knowing what might be in the package. To up the odds of enjoyment, I DO specify no women's fiction, and no horror, please.
Other than those restrictions, I am willing to review whatever Mindy sends next. I may not love all the books I get, but it is a fun challenge to write a positive review of a book I don't particularly like. As long as the author's writing is skillful, I can generally find something to say that will steer people who like that sort of thing to it, while warning off the people who may not enjoy it so much, all without saying anything at all negative about the work.
The most difficult thing for me is to come up with titles for the reviews. I think all of mine sound weak, trite or silly.
Some of my recent reviews include some M/M historical romance (not yet up on the site) as well as standard historical romance, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy. I also have written reviews for standard fantasy, erotica and have an upcoming review of a cozy mystery.
A few of my recently published reviews include:
and
My all time favorite book I reviewed was The Mane Event, by Shelly Laurenston back in 2007.
I have been a faithful reader of hers ever since. I guess that's the biggest reward, discovering new authors and books I might not have read otherwise.

Now I need to get back at it, or I might not be sent any more books! I have 4 reviews to go to finish the most recent batch, one is the newest novel in MZB'z Darkover series!!

3 comments:

corvustristis said...

Writing book reviews sounds like a lot of fun. I'm a wide-range reader too, though I have a particular soft spot for good fantasy/sci-fi (the "good" modifier is important).

Lynx said...

oooh oooh oooh! I need a copy of "Spellbent"! it sounds addictive! (My birthday is in December, hint hint)...

Leslie said...

I love your book reviews and thanks for the quote from Dorothy Parker.