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I Belong

Year in the Life of a Romance Reviewer

March 22nd, 2014 Angela Posted in Year in the Life of a Romance Review Comments Off on Year in the Life of a Romance Reviewer

Book

Writing your first review is a humbling experience. I’m sure that writing your first book feels similar. In part because you have concepts, ideas, and maybe a general way to lay it out but when you start putting fingers to the keyboard you can seize up just as you are trying to get that first paragraph, sentence or word out of your head.

So I am going to share 5 tips that work for me:

1. Once you have finished a review book, let yourself process your feelings — whether they are good, bad or indifferent by going and doing something else before you write your review. I will typically finish a book before I go to bed and then the next evening after getting home from my 9-5 job and having dinner, I will then write my review. I have found that my thought processes are clearer. This can even include having an insight into characters or storyline that I hadn’t grasped until I had let the story revolve around in my head.

2. Sometimes the hardest part is getting started with a review so take care of the items that don’t require maximum brain power. What do I mean by that, well fill out stuff about the book that you can copy and paste. This can include anything from author’s name, publisher’s information, page count, plus any websites you must link to your review, etc. The reason I have found is that this allows me to start typing and returns me to a mind set and gets me over the initial “Oh I don’t know what I want to say” because sometimes I’ve been typing for 15 minutes and I’m in “my review mode”.

3. Ensure that your reviews are the length you need them to be and this can be difficult with some books. So use word count on what ever text program you use. I am a Mac girl so I have Pages and keep the word count on the screen so I know how far I have come and how far I have to go. The same is true with Microsoft Word. I know at one stage my reviews were getting a smidge short because I had forgotten to turn the word count on.  And don’t cheat with your word count. This doesn’t include excerpts, or book information. The only words that should be included are words that are part of your review.

4. Star rating a book sometimes is the most difficult portion of this job and often I will have an entire review written and ready to go but I’m fluctuating between a 3 and 4 star rating. So what do I do in this situation, I go with my gut. I use Goodreads to track my books and after I complete a book I mark it as complete and rate it immediately. But when I write my review I take the opportunity to come back to the review with a clean slate. I sit down and write my review and then rate it at that moment. I do take into consideration my previous rating if I am struggling but inevitably I land on the same rating. However, there have been a time or two this past year where I rated a book on Goodreads and then after writing my review I went from a 2 to a 3 or vice versa.

5. Finally, if you put in excerpts from the book reviewed don’t always go for the first kiss. I try and choose moments that made me feel something whether that is a smile, giggle or melt in the mouth hot encounter between your lead characters. Part of your responsibility is to give a glimpse into the book’s world like trailers for movies such as the Man of Steel or The Boxtrolls trailers did so successfully. You want to encourage and excite a reader so much that all they can do is go to their favorite store and buy that book right NOW.

Come back monthly for new posts from me about being a book reviewer during 2014. I will be delving into life of a Romance Reviewer including attending book conventions, contests and more — so make sure you check back every month or subscribe to our RSS feed with your favorite RSS client or follow us on Twitter or Goodreads.

Please feel free to contact me via Twitter, Goodreads or through the contact form below if you have questions.

sig-DFT

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Year in the Life of a Romance Reviewer

February 1st, 2014 Angela Posted in Year in the Life of a Romance Review Comments Off on Year in the Life of a Romance Reviewer

Book

So how did I get involved in reviewing romance books over a year ago?

Well the short answer is, I answered an ad on a whim or a joke. In truth, I thought I would get a thank you for applying but you are too old, young, inexperienced, don’t read enough books, etc. You get the idea.

As with all good stories there was much more to the tale and unfortunately it starts with tragedy. My dog, Patch, died. He had coped with becoming a diabetic for over a year and one December morning he woke me up because he was struggling to breathe. Unfortunately, he passed away in my arms before dawn the same day.

To say I took his passing poorly is an understatement. I attempted to find another poodle to fill the void left by Patch’s death and kept coming up empty handed every time. One such adventure, I drove over 3 hours to see one rescue dog and spent over 2 hours with him and he still growled at me before I left. The following Saturday morning had me at a PetSmart at 5 am in the hopes of getting one of 3 poodles that were available. Again —- no joy was had in my home.

Meanwhile, I was struggling to get through my 9-5 job when I saw this posting on my Google Reader. Here it is in all its glory. My initial thought was I love reading and I’ve always thought I’d be involved with the book industry in some capacity, maybe this is my chance. However, the depression I had been sucked into stole that away quite quickly and I moved on.

But my brain kept coming back to this ad and refused to let the idea go completely. So on a whim and a heartfelt prayer I filled out the application form. And to my great wonder and amazement, I received my first e-mail from Angela at Dark Faerie Tales and I have been a part of this amazing book review family for a year now. To say it has been a roller coaster ride would be putting it lightly, but what a ride it has been and I would not give up a single moment of the journey.

Come back monthly for new posts from me about being a book reviewer during 2014. I will be delving into writing reviews, terminology that we use in the business that you would need to become familiar with, book conventions, contests and more, so make sure you check back every month or subscribe to our RSS feed with your favorite RSS client or follow us on Twitter or Goodreads.

And because all stories should end in a happily-ever-after, my home was blessed by a rescue poodle on December 31st, 2012. Sook has become an integral part of my life and I am proud and humbled to be blessed with such a precious dog.

Please feel free to contact me via Twitter, e-mail, or through the contact form below if you have questions.

sig-DFT

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Year in the Life of a Romance Reviewer

January 1st, 2014 Angela Posted in Year in the Life of a Romance Review Comments Off on Year in the Life of a Romance Reviewer

Book

This is going to be a monthly feature on this blog and will include everything from how I became a reviewer, tips for writing your reviews, etc. However, the best way to start Year in the Life of a Romance Reviewer is to give you my favorite books that I didn’t review on the site in 2013.

There is just something about reading for entertainment when part of my job is now to review books. So to take time to read just for pleasure is very important to me. After attending two book conventions this year, I realized that even authors have to keep up on their reading to make them better at their craft. So I will give you only books that I rated 5 stars that I have read this year. To give you a little bit of perspective, I read over 93 books this year alone but only 14 rated my awarding them 5 stars. These are in order of when I finished them with the first book I finished reading in July of this year.

1. Gabriel’s Inferno Series:  Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Renard

gabriels inferno

2.  Crossfire Series:  Entwined with You by Sylvia Day: I even took the whole day off work in order to enjoy this book without any interruptions.

Entwined with You

3.  FBI/US Attorney Series:  Something About You by Julie James

something about you

4.  Half Moon Hollow Series:  A Witch’s Handbook of Kisses and Curses by Molly Harper

Half Moon Hollow2

5.  Charley Davidson Series:  Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones

Third Grave Dead Ahead

6.  The World of Nightwalkers Series:  Forever by Jacquelyn Frank: I was introduced to this series and this author this year through one of my reviews and had to know what happened. Here is my review of book 1 of the series. I can’t WAIT for book 3.

Forever

7.  Losing It Series: Losing It by Cora Carmack

losing it

8.  Real Series: Real, Mine and Remy by Katy Evans:  I read this entire series this year and adored it. There is something about a man who sniffs his woman that just makes the heart go pitter pat.

realmineremy

9.  All of You Series:  All of You by Christina Lee: This story was such a wonderful read that I’m still reeling from its impact.

COVER_AllofYou_

10.  Caught Up In Us Series:  Playing With Her Heart by Lauren Blakely

Playing with her heart

11.  Knitting in the City Series:  Friends Without Benefits by Penny Reid: This book was so enchanting that I’m still trying to work in book one of the series into my read list.

Friends without benefits

12.  Midnight Ink Boxed Set by Carrie Ann Ryan, Mari Carr, Jayne Rylon, R.G. Alexander, Eden Bradley, Sidney Bristol, P.G. Forte, and Robin L. RothamThis is a series of eight novels that revolve around a tattoo parlor, but consist of their own individual stories. If you enjoy ink or just an awesome read then pick this one up immediately.

Midnight Ink

13. Gemini Series: Jake Undone by Penelope Ward: I just finished this novel this past weekend and adored it. I must read book 1 as soon as possible.

Jake Undone

14. King, King, Goose? by Mandy M. RothThis is a short free promotional work and I was looking for a book that started with a K to finish of my 2013 A-Z Book Challenge and used this one. I really enjoyed it and will look forward to reading more by this author.

Kingkinggoose_72small

Come back monthly for new posts from me about being a book reviewer during 2014. I will be delving into writing reviews, terminology that we use in the business you would need to become familiar with, book conventions, contests and more, so make sure you check back every month or subscribe to our RSS feed with your favorite RSS client or follow us on Twitter or Goodreads.

Please feel free to contact me via Twitter, e-mail, Goodreads or through the contact form below if you have questions.

sig-DFT

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