Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Always a good thing when another author likes your books —

Check this out: Gail Carriger just read BLACK DOG! Hah, that makes me happy, especially since she tweeted about it to about all the followers in the entire Twitterverse. (Is “twitterverse” a term people use? I have no idea.)

She did miss the thing about Dimilioc forbidding OTHER black dogs to marry the Pure, so her full review at Goodreads offers a moment of confusion about that, but she is sensible enough to say “I might have missed something” rather than “clearly a problem with the logic of the story.” I wonder if this is because as a writer she knows very well that all those layers of copy editors are not likely to miss something like that.

I will have to start checking in at Carriger’s blog because I like the “daily infusion of cute” and “tisane of smart” and “writerly tinctures.”

I have been reading more Regencies lately, what with not only Georgette Heyer but also modern writers like Teresa Romain. Maybe it’s time to get Carriger’s first book off my TBR shelves and give it a try.

Also, I like this link, which was the link from “writerly tinctures.” Because, YES, reviewers should DEFINTELY stick to reviewing books from genres they actually read and like. I’ve noticed that, too, that if a reviewer mostly reads contemporary romance, or literary, then they may try to write a fair review for one of my non-romance-non-literary secondary world fantasies, but they stumble over it. Why do this? Just say No when a publisher offers you an ARC for something that really isn’t your cup of tea.

However, as you may have noticed, I don’t agree that reviews should necessarily “summarize the book succinctly” rather than offer a visceral reaction to the book. I actually barely skim plot summaries, even if the reviewer is brilliant. I am way more interested in the reviewer’s visceral reaction, provided I think I share their taste in books. I can’t tell you how many times I have picked up a book DESPITE the plot summary, BECAUSE of the reviewer’s reaction to the book.

Kind of a place for both, imo.

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4 Comments Always a good thing when another author likes your books —

  1. Pete+Mack

    Oh a Doomsday Device. And I just watched Dr. Strangelove again. The pre-d├ętente cold war was a strange land indeed. And I guess a Gail Carriger review counts as “Squee!”?

  2. Elaine+T

    If a book review is mainly a summary it is of no value to me. Especially if it is the 6th or more in a row that is written like that. I need something more than a summary to make me want to pick up the book. I need to know a visceral reaction, what it reminded the reviewer of, SOMETHING more than a summary.

    Besides, the summaries all too often sound like grade school oral book report assignments.

    I rarely review books, although I’m trying to start after realizing how much reviews can affect sales. It’s so hard to write one that doesn’t sound pompous and put ME off the book, even if I liked it, and I’m the one writing the review! Books I don’t like are much easier to review, but I usually don’t bother.

  3. Rachel

    Yep, pretty much a “Squee!” — plus a definite inducement for me to try her series. I’m WAY more likely to shuffle an author to the top of my TBR pile if she says nice things about my books. Evidence of good taste, right?

  4. Rachel

    >Besides, the summaries all too often sound like grade school oral book report assignments.

    Yes, yes, yes! Exactly! Some bloggers do SO much better a job at making a review sound entertaining. You know who does a great job is Into This Hall Of Books, but she nearly always sticks to straight contemporary YA, so I don’t go over there that often. Plus she’s been reviewing less lately. But I really like her format, plus she always sounds enthusiastic. Pure enthusiasm matters a great deal to me.

    And some reviewers are better at clever one-liners that capture something important. That’s a real talent.

    And of course some bloggers are better at getting to the heart of something subtle, which is always helpful. I think Ana of The Book Smugglers is one of the best at pulling out a thematic flaw that a lot of other people are missing but that would drive me crazy — she’s good at seeing underlying themes in general, much better than me.

    And believe me, all authors appreciate your taking the time to post a review.

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