Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reviews: General Outline

The following is the breakdown that I will be using for every review that I do. You'll notice that there are many things in italics ... this is just things I write down to remind myself what to look for when I review a story.

General Information

Title of Book - include book number if part of series and website of said series.
Author - include author website (or blog) if available.
Number of Pages
Publisher - include Publisher location.
Release Date


Synopsis - include source of synopsis.

Additional Information - include book excerpts, trailers, or other promotional items.

What Is Reviewed

The review will typically be in two paragraphs to keep my train of thought straight. One paragraph will be my take on the whole story ... kind of like my own longer version of a synopsis. The second paragraph will be all of the specifics including the list below. Don;t be intimidated by the list, it's just what I look at when I go to review a book.

Cover Art - does the cover grab your attention? does it fit the story?
Synopsis - does it make me want to open the book and start reading immediately?
Prologue (if available) - does it move you into the story smoothly? or if it's an excerpt from later in the book, does it give you enough to make you want to continue reading?
Point of View - is it too limited, too broad, or just right?
Writing Style - is it classy? funny? does it fit the atmosphere of the story?
Character Development - do the characters have dimension? can you relate to them? do they grow?
Action/Adventure - is there a lot of action? or is the story more about drama?
Plot - is it original? intriguing? planned out well?
Ending - is it fitting to the story? too expected, or was it surprising?
Epilogue (if available) - does it wrap the story well? does it open the story to a sequel?

Rating System

- It makes me all warm and fuzzy on the inside!
- A really great read!
- A little disconnection, but still worth the read!
- Too many questions unanswered, but someone will like it!
- If you HAVE to read it, rent it from the library.

If for some reason I think a book is deserving of more than the rating, but less deserving of the rating above it, I'll insert a "½". It helps me sleep at night and gives you a better feel of the rating.

Reviews that are rated UNDER 3 butterflies will typically not get posted, unless otherwise directed by the author/publisher. For a better explanation of this and the rating system, please read the Review Policy.


Summary of Review - typically one sentence finalizing my impression of book.

Target Audience - what kinds of people I think would enjoy this type of book.

Source of Book - the means of acquiring reviewed book: purchased, gifted, an ARC, or e-Book.

Books By Author - additional books by the author, for anyone that may be interested.

Reviews: The Policy

This blog is relatively new, as reviews start [officially] on January 1, 2010.

Genres I Enjoy MOST
Genre to be reviewed is not limited to this list.
  • Young Adult
  • Paranormal Romance
  • Love & Romance
  • Mystery
  • Horror & Thriller
  • Fantasy
  • Science Fiction
  • Chick-Lit
  • True Crime

Time Frame

If I am reviewing a book for you, please give me time. I can typically fly through about three decent novels a week, but I cannot give you a definite deadline on when I will be done. I have a full-time job and this blog is something I do as a hobby on the side. If the book intrigues me enough, it will probably take me less time to finish it compared to others.

*If the book is an Early Review, it will automatically be bumped up in priority and I will post a review typically a month before its release date - if I receive it that early.

How I Review

First thing's first: I have to pick out a book. I buy books constantly with my own money and on occasion I receive a book/manuscript to be reviewed from others. If it's given to me, I try to make it top(ish) priority. If it's a part of my own collection, I typically just randomly select a book off of my shelf. I will also re-read books that I have read in order to refresh my memory and review it for this blog.

If I accept a novel from an author, published or otherwise, it is almost guaranteed that I will review the book. However, in the unlikely case that I cannot finish the book to review it, I am more than willing to return the book to the author or pass it along to a fellow blogger in order for it to be reviewed. Usually, this isn't the case. I rarely find a book that is so hideous (in my opinion) that I want to throw it at the wall and curl up in the fetal position in an attempt to forget it - I just like to cover all of my bases. I used to live by the 100 page rule (give it 100 pages before you give up on it), but now it seems I'm so obsessive in my readings that I absolutely have to finish the book ... no matter how bad it may be.

Reviewing is a process for me that starts before I actually finish the book and sit down to write a review. I like to take notes while I'm reading. My reviews generally include cover art, plot, synopsis, ending, writing and of course my personal opinion about the book in general. You get extra points for witty dialogue and general LOL-moments in the story. Points are taken off if I have any questions written down after I have completed the novel. At the end of the review, I post my overall rating of the book.


My rating system is my favorite part because I like to use butterflies as my stars! Overall, my rating system is very generic. I will rate the book on a scale from one to five "stars". Below is how the stars add up.

- The book is pretty much solid gold. Everything reviewed lives up to the standards. This is a book I can pick up, read and follow effortlessly with no questions whatsoever. After I'm finished reading it, I want to pick up the phone IMMEDIATELY to call my best friend/fellow bookworm to demand that she reads it next.

- The book is still incredible and definitely recommended. It pretty much lived up to the hype and there is very little to criticize.

- The book is worth reading, but something is missing. There was a hole in the plot, one of the main characters wasn't fleshed out well, OR the ending was completely unnecessary/unbelievable.

- After reading the book, I was left scratching my head. There are holes in the plots, the characters are one-dimensional, and/or the writing isn't my cup of tea.

- After reading the book, I threw it up against the wall and went to my happy place.

There are half ratings, too. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find it in my heart to take away half of a butterfly, so I just use "½" instead. ;)

If a book isn't at least three stars, I typically won't post it. Why? I know from experience that a lot of readers are deterred by really horrible ratings/reviews of a book. Like I said before, everyone has their own taste in books and I don't want to be the reason that someone won't give a book a chance. If in the event this happens when I am reviewing for an author, I will send an e-mail to said author explaining my reasons for not posting a review and we will work out details from there.

Bookmarks, Swag, Other Products

I will gladly accept any bookmarks/swag that you would be willing to send to me. These items are always taken as prizes to give out during any future contests that may be hosted at this blog.

I am also willing to review other products that my readers might enjoy; especially when it is reading-related.


Fic Fridays is something I have decided to start that I don't see a lot of on review blogs. While this blog is primarily a book review blog, I have decided to open up reviews to something else that I hold close to my heart: fiction stories written by aspiring writers. If you have a story on Fictionpress or on Fanfiction that you want reviewed, please contact me. I also beta read for some from time to time, so send me an e-mail and I'll let you know if I have time to beta for you as well. =)

Reviews: About

Blogs are like snowflakes. While there seems to be a million and one book blogs out there, I bet that you couldn't find two that look identical. Okay, maybe their layouts are the same, but I'm going to take a stab and guess that their content is just the opposite. Not only that, but you're not going to find the exact same opinions for the same book on each blog, nor are you going to find the same information. My blog is no exception.

Another thing I can say about my blog is that the format of my reviews will probably change from time to time. I have a basic outline that I go by. However, if I feel like I need to add more information or take some things away, then I will. The outline is not set it stone. My discretion will be based more on the content that I think the book enthusiast would like. My goal with this blog is not to bore by being redundant, but to entertain and inspire people to read.

One guarantee? I cannot promise that I won't somehow post spoilers on here. Sometimes, I get carried away when I discuss a book. What I can promise is a warning of an upcoming spoiler, and maybe I'll make it to where you have to highlight to read it. That helps me when I read other blogs and don't want to know too much about the book on subject.

I can also guarantee that this blog will NOT be for Young Adult books only, though it will be more YA as I tend to go for those more often than not. But, I am a girl in her mid-twenties. I like adult books. I can tell you that one of my absolute obsessions is the Lords of the Underworld series by Gena Showalter. They're paranormal romance - very adult and very graphic. I am also, as my mother likes to say, very morbid at times. I love horrors, thrillers, mysteries, true crime and those other books sane, normal people tend to avoid. Like the sane people, I also like the romances, the historicals, the inspirational, the chick lit, graphic novels, and anything educational. In short, I am a book slut - I do not limit myself to just one genre. I plan on reviewing every book I read. But, in the interest of those that may be younger, I will post a warning on the books with more mature subject matter.

Staying on the subject of my book fidelity issues: I don't just keep to published works, either. In the past, I have beta read for several people and enjoy reading stories from regular people whose talents have not been discovered yet - or people that may just see writing as a hobby on the side. Fan fiction is also pretty good, though I sometimes get frustrated when people completely change characters that I love. The way the characters are is, after all, the reason why I am a fan.

I hope you guys enjoy my book review blog. I know it's just a hobby that I will pursue in my spare time, but reading is a huge passion of mine and maybe, with the help of this blog, I can make it more passionate for others as well.

Blog: About

"Oh no! Another book review blog!!"

It's been done a thousand times before, right? I'm not a car dealer, so I really don't know how to pitch a good sale to you about why or how my blog is different from the others. Instead, I'll just tell you why I started this thing and what I will have to offer!

First off ... hi! My name is Missy and I'm addicted to books. Reading, writing ... I like to dabble in both. However, my first love and my obsession is reading. The addiction has been going on for the better part of my twenty-six years. I blame my parents for reading to me every night when I was young, lulling me to sleep with stories of princesses and magical lands far, far away. Once I was old enough to read the books myself, I couldn't put them down. When I was finally able to loosen to grasp on them, all I wanted to do was talk about them. This problem continued through my school years and even spilled over into my marriage, where it has reached the point of a dilemma: I am a bookworm where my wonderful husband is a gaming nerd. Needless to say, he wants to hear about the plots of stories about as much as I wanted to hear of his latest mission achievements in Halo, Call of Duty, or any other Xbox game he may be playing at the time.

When the controversy began, a small light bulb went off in my head and I decided that it would be best for me to share my love of books with people who actually want to hear about them. So i did some research and found a few book communities to join and give my two cents. Unfortunately, the honeymoon didn't last as long as I would have hoped. Early on, I discovered that my opinions varied greatly from most of the other members of the communities. Where they wanted to search for similarities to other books to base reviews on, I wanted to start on a clean slate for every book that I read. I also found that I couldn't just stop talking about a book after just a few short sentences. I wanted to talk and talk until I got everything out that I wanted to say - and not a lot of people appreciated the lengths of my discussions. I just felt as though everything was so ... segregated. While I do typically stay within fiction, I like a lot of different genres. In order to talk about ALL of my books, I had to join several communities. Being a full-time employee, dividing my free time between several communities was really spreading me thin.

I vented these concerns to a friend one day and while I was ranting, the idea of starting a blog about my books popped in my head. Why not start my own blog where I could talk about any book of any genre I wanted and not have to worry about the length of my posts? I told my friend about my oh-so-brilliant idea and she responded with, "Oh, you mean like a book review blog or something?" I have never actually thought of it as a book review blog. After a bit of research and stories from another friend about her own experiences with a blog, I decided it was the perfect idea!

This is where our adventure begins!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Blog

Alright guys, as you can tell I have started a new blog. I want to start reviews as part of the new year. Until then, I'm going to be working on the layout, policies, ratings and anything else I can think of. Please, please be patient. I promise it'll be looking right soon!!

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