Reviewer for a Day

Fair and balanced is something I try to be when I review or rate a book and I weigh what I think readers would want to know about the book (without revealing spoilers) against going  on and on about things that personally annoy me. My ratings are probably on the high side because I start at 4 stars which is “recommended” on this site, and work my way up or down. I may absolutely love a book that you might hate for the same reasons,  and I may rate a book as 4.5 stars that someone else rated as 2 or 3 stars or vice versa, but that’s how ratings work.

There’s nothing wrong with either rating because it reflects what that reviewer’s personal opinion is about a book. I’m not a fiction writer and don’t pretend to be one. Although I write for a living, my stuff is so dull it would put you to sleep, 🙂 so I try not to be too analytical when I review a book and just indicate what I loved/hated about it, and overall whether I thought it was a good read. At times I point out specific issues I had with the plot or characterizations, because if I don’t love the characters very rarely would I love the book. As for the huge ranges in ratings for a particular book? What explanation can there be other than personal taste? There is no reviewing school so most reviewers have their own imperfect system for rating books.

I was looking at some of the reviews on this site and others and wondered at the wide range of ratings for the same books. Obviously a lot of this has to do with personal likes and dislikes as we all have our own internal rating systems. For example, I’m always going on about things in M/M that annoy me such as The Big Misunderstanding (this is just an example). 🙂 The BM could probably affect my rating of a book with that theme without my being aware of it, but another reviewer may not be as bothered and would therefore rate this same book much higher, which goes to show that some readers are more forgiving than others on different aspects of books they read.  Rating a book sometimes could be a gut feel more than anything else for a lot of reviewers and reflects their love for a particular author’s writing, a theme, the characterizations in the book, or a combination of a host of other things. Ultimately I think  most people rate a book based on what they like to read. I am very aware of my own flawed system of rating 🙂 but I do try to tell you upfront on occasion why I rated a book the way I did.

So why am I writing this post? It’s to find out what types of books you like to read and what factors you would consider if you were rating a book. What kind of reader are you and what elements would you use as Reviewer for a Day? What moves you about a book? Are you more of a forgiving than a critical reader? What about the plot – if it doesn’t make sense would you still rate the book highly? Do you like lots and lots of angst? Hot and hotter sex where the protagonists can’t wait to jump into bed even before they shake hands? Or do you look for books where the fires are banked and it’s more about the emotions than the sex? Do you love action adventures? What if the action were as slow as molasses –  how would that affect your rating of a book? If you were rating a book would you get mad at writers because they didn’t write the book you wished they had, so you penalize them for that by downgrading the rating? Could you try to put yourself in the shoes of a reader whose likes/dislikes were exactly opposite to yours and point out some of the ‘positives’ that you hated?

Be a Reviewer for a Day. See how tough the job really is. 🙂 At the end of the day I hope one of you will step forward and volunteer to review a book on the site that you either loved or hated. 🙂

Author

I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball

60 comments

  • I’ve read, agreed with and enjoyed so many of these posts.

    I have now decided that what I want to write is more of a hybrid thing – not a review ( these started to sound a lot like lit crit and I’ve done my time thank you) not an opinion, but more me jumping up and down enthusiastically saying read this, try this, read this!

    So, thanks Wave , I have just sent my first hybrid thingy to Amazon.

    Reply
    • Raine

      I think that’s an excellent idea. This way you get the fun of writing a “review” which is more fun than the kind of review that we do here. Congratulations. 🙂

      Reply
  • I’m a tough reviewer. I have pretty high standards which, I think, get steeper the more m/m I read. Rather than get disenchanted from the rising levels of low-quality work being published out there, I think I have come to expect, or at least hope, for more from each book I open. I haven’t written any reviews for a few years now. I spent 4 years critiquing stories on paper and in person in college, where I got a writing degree. And let me tell you, no matter how good or bad my own work was, those years were and exercise in patience and diplomacy 🙂

    But lately, the more I’ve been reading your site Wave and enjoying the reviews, I’ve noticed myself comparing my thoughts against the reviewers. One thing that really bothers me is the three-quarters plot point review. By this I mean when three-quarters of the review are the set-up of the story (which I love to see in the review) and then a point by point discourse on the first half of the book. There might not be spoilers and you might have been able to find out the same in the book description, but I like to go into reading a book with as much of a blank slate as possible. I see this quite a lot, and I’m sure it doesn’t bother everybody, but it turns me away from the beginning. Amazon is notorious for this. I think more room should be left for the meat of the review. I always try to be unbiased and fair, which is why I never review BDSM and rarely read it, after a book made me so emotionally upset I had to stay away from the sub-genre for several months. I also am a gay man who will read and enjoy sex romps, but who really loves emotional romances. In the end, I enjoy just about anything depending on my mood (I also have a soft spot for gay male witches).

    I think the main question I always ask myself while reading a book is if I felt the author gavetheir very best effort, their 110% on all aspects of the book. Is the editing terrible? Is the pace rushed toward the end (as if the author were eager to wrap up and start another story)? Are there inconsistencies? I think that the care the author shows towards his or her work is proportionate to how much the reader will care, and if the author doesn’t, why should I?

    For me, I seriously consider reading works that garner a 4 or more (I always read fives). If they get a 4 or less, I will read them depending on the review, author, or sub-genre. As far as reviewing, I think it is important for the reviewer to exain their thoughts as to how they pertain to them. We get to know reviewers over time, by reading their thoughts and opinions in correlation to ours. It is enough to say that you feel a certain way about a book, but why you feel that way says more.

    xo
    Cole

    Reply
    • Hi Cole

      I just saw this response – I don’t always get notified by WP so I apologise for the late reply.

      >>But lately, the more I’ve been reading your site Wave and enjoying the reviews, I’ve noticed myself comparing my thoughts against the reviewers. One thing that really bothers me is the three-quarters plot point review. < < Every so often I ask the readers if they would like us to do different types of reviews because I know that our reviews are much longer than the norm on other review sites. They have come back with a resounding 'no'. Apparently they like the format. However I see where you're coming from. One of the changes we made last time around was a summary sentence so that if readers didn't want to go any further than the rating and the summary they could stop right there. Also we are now indicating if there is any possibility of spoilers in the reviews (sometimes it's really difficult to write a review without spoilers). We're all learning as we go along, and everyone's style is different. >>I think the main question I always ask myself while reading a book is if I felt the author gave their very best effort, their 110% on all aspects of the book. Is the editing terrible? Is the pace rushed toward the end (as if the author were eager to wrap up and start another story)? Are there inconsistencies? I think that the care the author shows towards his or her work is proportionate to how much the reader will care, and if the author doesn’t, why should I?< < I'm 100% with you there. Although I'm not the toughest reviewer on the site (I probably rate books a little higher than the other reviewers) I'm always aggravated by the rushed endings, especially with novellas. One would think that 100 - 150 pages would be enough for an author to structure a book so that the ending is credible but 90% of them don't and end up rushing through the last 10 - 20 pages which leaves the reader feeling as if the book was cut off 3/4 of the way through. As for the editing, that's atrocious almost throughout the publishing industry, not just epublishing. When I buy a print book and find it 10 - 20% full of errors or holes in the story I just want to throw the book against the wall. >>As far as reviewing, I think it is important for the reviewer to explain their thoughts as to how they pertain to them. We get to know reviewers over time, by reading their thoughts and opinions in correlation to ours. It is enough to say that you feel a certain way about a book, but why you feel that way says more.< < I think we all try to some degree to explain our ratings but sometimes we expect the readers to figure this out from the narrative. Everyone's style is different and the types of books we love are also different and I might rate a book as 5 stars because I love the theme - a rating that you might feel is undeserving. I personally will try in future to explain my ratings more explicitly. Thanks for some very interesting observations Cole.

      Reply
      • Hey Wave,

        Thanks for the reply. I’m not sure if you took my comments this way, but in case you did I wanted to clarify that everything in my post that I mentioned bothered me about reviews I very rarely see on your site. You have the best reviews and reviewers on the net. Also, that bit about the length of your reviews compared to other sites … That’s one of the things I love about the reviews here.

        I also wanted to say how much I appreciate how dedicated you are to the site. You always make sure everyone’s visit here is a good one. It make this a welcoming place 🙂

        Cole

        Reply
        • Hello Cole

          It always helps to know that we’re doing something right, although there’s a lot of room for improvement as with everything else. All of the reviewers do this job in between their very busy lives and I am most appreciative of what they do. Some can only review one book a week and others three but what I love best is the effort they put into it. I’m a slow reader, mainly because I don’t want to miss an important plot point or misread elements in the story, so I may not be able to pull my weight every week but in those situations someone else always picks me up. 🙂

          >>You always make sure everyone’s visit here is a good one. It make this a welcoming place < < Thank you Cole - I do appreciate that comment. 🙂 BTW and this is a serious comment, if at any time you would like to review for the site please email me. The site needs excellent reviewers and this requirement will only increase as the numbers of M/M books increase exponentially.

          Reply
  • Hey Wave

    I do occasionally write little reviews, which are actually just a paragraph or two of commentary from me about the book. If I don’t like a book you’ll never hear it from my lips. : ) For a multitude of reasons, one being that as an author, I never love to hear someone didn’t like one of mine, and since I believe you shouldn’t put anything out there you don’t want coming back to you…that one’s a no brainer. Also, since reviews are slanted toward personal tastes, if I dislike it, I assume it’s on me. (See there – contrary to what you may think, I really don’t believe the entire world revolves around just me.) That whole personal taste thing works both ways, which is why getting a bad review doesn’t make me want to run out and leap off the nearest bridge. It might bum me out, but I’m pretty good – delusional – and don’t usually take bad feedback to heart.

    I don’t write up commentary for every book that I read and love, because…seriously…who has the time. But if I like a book, I give it a five…mainly because I enjoy and know what it feels like to get them, lol.

    Reply
    • Ethan

      >>If I don’t like a book you’ll never hear it from my lips. : ) For a multitude of reasons, one being that as an author, I never love to hear someone didn’t like one of mine, and since I believe you shouldn’t put anything out there you don’t want coming back to you…that one’s a no brainer.< < so, no matter how crappy the book you'll still say, if asked, that it was a wonderful read? That is so dishonest E. 🙂 How can other readers trust you after that. When they ask me about your books I always tell them my truth, even though you might hate me for it. 😉 You'll never get hired to write reviews here because we're a tough bunch. LOL >>But if I like a book, I give it a five…mainly because I enjoy and know what it feels like to get them, lol.< < You crack me up even when you're trying to be semi serious. You have had more than your share of 5's, deserved or not. 😉 I'll never let you know who review your books because he'll give them 10 stars. >>That whole personal taste thing works both ways, which is why getting a bad review doesn’t make me want to run out and leap off the nearest bridge< < Famous last words. 🙂

      Reply
      • “so, no matter how crappy the book you’ll still say, if asked, that it was a wonderful read? That is so dishonest E.”

        NO!!! I’ll just pretend I never read it!! : ) So yes…it is dishonest. But in a no one gets hurt kinda way. : )

        Does that really surprise you? You know I prefer laughs to drama. : )

        And you know from experience that a less than flattering review won’t run me off. I’m like a common cold without a cure. Once you’ve come down with a case of Ethan you’re stuck with it for life!

        Ahhhh…lucky you! LOL!

        Reply
        • Well I was considering you to fill a vacancy but you’re not qualified. LOL all of your friends will get 5 stars on their books and the rest won’t be reviewed. Just don’t pass on your philosophy to TJ and Buda – they are hard enough to handle as it is. 🙂

          Reply
  • Great post Wave as always. I do post reviews on Amazon, although I do not really think of them as reviews, I think of them as my opinions of the books, which may be helpful to the readers that may share my tastes. Seriously, the only reason I started doing was because I am the kind of reader who LOVES talking about the books, arguing, discussing, debating, etc and as I said of course I hope that some readers may find them helpful (or not.

    What factors do I consider when rating a book? Definitely plot and characterization first and foremost and in this genre chemistry between characters, how hot they are together on opage and by that I do not just mean how hot they are in bed.(since this is the only genre I worked up a nerve on to ever make my opinions public lol (besides Harry Potter lol.

    As to specific tropes, well as you said, review is first and foremost one oerson’s subjective opinion of the book, so I TRY (of course I am not perfect and not always manage) to not let my dislike of specific trope colour my opinion of the book and to be honest I do not like when reviewers do that. Like to me it is one thing when you review the book with Big Misunderstanding which makes characters look like an idiots and point out why (let’s be honest in 95% they do look like idiots IMO). But if you would say that simply because there is a Big Misunderstanding in the book and that is why book gets lower rating from you, I would give such review less weight and would go and research more to decide whether to buy such book or not. Does that make sense? This is just how I make decisions for myself, obviously every reviewer decides what to highlight in the book and it is their decision.

    Like for example, the only trope I will not ever touch and would be mad as hell if I read the book with it without knowing that is in the book is “I rape you, you fall in love with me and we will live happily ever after”. HATE it passion, absolutely hate it. However, I once read a book and even finished it which had such trope in spades. Did I like? Oh man, I get angry every time this book is mentioned, so much I hated it. However, I also thought that the world building was good, plot interesting, characters are multidimensional, etc. So I gave the book four stars while did not hold back in describing my emotional reactions to it. Again, it is not that reviewers are obligated to follow my personal tastes, I just feel that while being subjective, it is still nice when reviewer acknowledges that while he may dislike the trope, the book was still well done. I hope I am making sense here.

    What I rarely mention in my reviews is language problems, because I feel that it will be very hypocritical of me to do so, since I know that my reviews can be rambling, can have grammar mistakes, awkward sentences, etc.

    However, there are instances when yes, I want to do a headdesk and ask who the heck was editing this thing and how it got published. Then I will mention language issues, because if they are so bad that they jerk ESL reader out of the story, well I figure other readers deserve to know about them and decide for themselves.

    Reply
    • Sirius

      >>As to specific tropes, well as you said, review is first and foremost one person’s subjective opinion of the book, so I TRY (of course I am not perfect and not always manage) to not let my dislike of specific trope colour my opinion of the book and to be honest I do not like when reviewers do that.< < One of the things I always try to be in my reviews is honest, and I say upfront how I rated a book. Also, whenever I give the pros and cons of what I liked/didn't like about a book I try to provide examples. It's not wrong to say you hate a particular trope or plot, because sometimes some of the plots are so silly it would be difficult for any sensible person to find much to like about them. But if the characterizations are brilliant, then of course I would still recommend the book. I can divorce myself from themes I'm not fond of if the writing is exceptional. For example, Faith & Fidelity by Tere Michaels was so angst filled I waited a long time before I read it, and when I did I was sad through most of the book. However, the writing, plot and characterizations were brilliant IMO and so I rated the book as DIK. There are many themes I don't care for and most of the time I avoid reading/reviewing these books. One of my favourite authors sent me a book to review about 6 months ago with dubious consent and references to incest. I still haven't been able to bring myself to read the book which is probably well written and a good story. Many books are poorly edited because there just aren't enough experienced editors to go around, even if the publishers were willing to hire them, so reviewers have the unenviable task of pointing out all the editing, spelling and grammatical errors and everyone gets pissed at us for doing so. If you're going to charge for a book at least have it 98% error free. 🙁

      Reply
      • Of course it is not wrong to say what you (generic you not you Wave) disliked in the book and why. In fact I want the reviewer to tell me that, I just do not like (and again it is my personal preference as one reader that is all) when reviewer tells me – oh the book was brilliant, characterizations, writing, plot, etc, but it was too depressing for me so book gets low grade. Funny you mention how you graded Faith and fidelity so high (which I think is totally deserving) despite the fact that you do not like angst. I applaud you for that, because yes, if there is a silly plot device in the book which in reviewer’s opinion worked detrimentally and harmed plot and characterizations, sure grade it lower. I just do not see why book has to suffer if reviewer herlself acknowledges it was brilliant, just too depressing for her. By the way, when I type it, I am thinking about very specific review and very specific book and it was not published here Wave, I am just venting here about it. Sorry!

        And agreed about grammar and characterizations, it is just more about me when I do not mention it often, only when it is overwhelmingly bad. Like when the character “kisses a look” on another character’s face among other brilliantly constructed sentences, I cannot ignore that. But for the most part, if I am still able to enjoy the story, I do, as I said I know I have to get over it, because even if my review somewhat awkwardly written, I am not the one who publishes books for which readers have to pay, so I would think the requirements to keep up with grammar should be higher for published authors. One day I will get over it. One day 🙂

        Reply
        • Sirius
          As a reviewer I do try to be fair and balanced and where I feel that I really cannot do a book justice I recuse myself from reviewing it.

          I had a book recently that I was looking forward to reviewing because the theme and the author were both favourites but when I started reading the book I knew that I couldn’t review it. Why? Because I recognized that the time period in which the book was set would include references to race that I could not, in all conscience, overlook. So someone else reviewed the book and it received 5 stars which it richly deserved. I would have given it the same rating (I did finish it eventually) but if I had reviewed it the review would have been all about me, not the book, which is not what reviewing is all about. The author knows BTW, and she and I had a very nice discussion about the appropriateness of the use of racial epithets in historical romances when other words would work just as well.

          Reviewers can divorce themselves from a topic and theme 95% of the time but if I feel that my judgement could affect my rating of a book I usually don’t review it.

          On the subject of editorial errors, poor grammar etc., only the publishers and the authors can correct this. If we continue to hold them accountable hopefully this would give them an incentive to do so.

          Reply
  • Wave, ever though about having a weekly “what we are reading” post where one could post informally about books one have just read? I know I could never write reviews, even if I have a lot of opinions and read a lot, since my english is not good enough and I am not a good writer.

    Reply
    • That’s a great suggestion Sunshine. Just let’s first finish the changes to the site and I’ll get back to you (or you can email me) about how something like this would work. But please give me at least a couple of weeks until all of the site changes are completed.

      Reply
  • These are great questions, Wave, and some really interesting responses from people.

    Like Josephine, I come from a background where my degree is in English Lit and I taught high school English for nearly 10 years. This means that when I look at a book for reviewing purposes I do focus on the way it is written and whether it works for me or not – after all that is the way I used to ask my pupils to approach their own reading and writing. Thus I look at narrative structure and voice, the way that the story hangs together, use of various literary techniques such as flashbacks or withholding information, the way that an author uses words to paint a picture in my mind, and so on. An author who can excel in the above, who I can see is doing something clever or who surprises me, will often get a good review from me, even if I didn’t always like the plot. Reviewing has certainly made me a more objective reader in a way because I have to work out why a book isn’t working for me, what it is about the writing that means I find it dull or the writing clunky. Before I reviewed I would just dismiss it as ‘bad writing’. Now I have to explain why to my readers because it not enough to say ‘the writing is bad’ I need to say why. Sometimes that’s quite difficult!

    Having said that, I’m well aware that some readers just don’t care about those things as much as I do. Some readers are only interested in the emotions of a story, whether they are enjoying it and whether they like the characters. That’s just as valid as my point of view, and I do care about that as well. After all if you can’t understand a character’s motivations or just plain hate them then it’s not going to be a book to recommend to others. Same with the plot. If there are huge plot holes then that annoys me. I find though that I can be forgiving of most things in terms of plotting if the writing is good and I’m engaged with the characters – even things that usually annoy me like insta-love or the BM can work for me in the right context.

    Mostly, though, as you have said, reading is subjective and if for whatever reason I don’t like a book, there’s sure to many, many other readers/reviewers who do.

    Reply
    • Jen

      Reviewing is one of the more difficult fun pastimes – worse than trying to play golf. LOL

      >>when I look at a book for reviewing purposes I do focus on the way it is written and whether it works for me or not – after all that is the way I used to ask my pupils to approach their own reading and writing. Thus I look at narrative structure and voice, the way that the story hangs together, use of various literary techniques such as flashbacks or withholding information, the way that an author uses words to paint a picture in my mind, and so on.< < If we (and I include myself of course) can compromise and write a review that we can be proud of, while at the same time not scare the readers away, then we would have done a great job. >>Having said that, I’m well aware that some readers just don’t care about those things as much as I do. Some readers are only interested in the emotions of a story, whether they are enjoying it and whether they like the characters. That’s just as valid as my point of view, and I do care about that as well.< < I think what we all have to strive for is balance. We have to be true to what we believe in, but at the same time we need to be cognisant of the perspective of the reader who will be skimming the review for the things that are important to them, not to us. We all like to think that other readers will read every word we write but they only care about what THEY want in order to make a "buy" decision. I try to do this sometimes >>Could you try to put yourself in the shoes of a reader whose likes/dislikes were exactly opposite to yours and point out some of the ‘positives’ that you hated?< < I'm not always successful but I find that if I try to be more intuitive about what other readers are looking for it makes me a better reviewer.

      Reply
  • That’s an awful lot of questions, Wave!

    I do like to write reviews on Goodreads, but purely in the spirit of helping other readers to work out if they’re likely to enjoy a book. Consequently, if there are things I didn’t enjoy and that affected my rating I do try to explain why, as those could be the very things that would draw another reader to the story.

    I am a very critical reader – I suppose many writers are as we are used to looking for errors in our own writing so we get super-attuned to seeing them in others. It probably doesn’t help that I took an English lit degree so I’m used to picking apart pieces of writing. However, if I think something is poorly written I just give up on it and don’t post a review at all. Usually I can weed these books out from the excerpts, so I don’t come across many.

    Things I love? I’ll tolerate all sorts if I feel like I’m in the hands of a good writer. If their style, their voice, carries me away then I’ll even read werewolves, vampires and high fantasy (probably my least favourite sub-genres). I’m not overly fond of too much angst – I prefer a good dose of comedy to writing that takes itself too seriously. What I particularly enjoy, though, are paranormal themes (especially psychic phenomena), science-fiction (especially cyberpunk), contemporary, menage and polyamory, and mysteries. I’m less excited by thrillers and cowboys, but so long as there’s a focus on interesting characters I’ll give them a go.

    And I know I’ve said it before, but I do like there to be hot sex woven into the fabric of the story. So long as it needs to be there it’s a real plus point. Extra points if it’s the smokin’, sweaty, urgent kind ;D

    Most important of all, though – I want to feel that the characters have developed and been changed by their experiences. I want them to come out of the novel as a better person than when they started. If that isn’t there, then all the humorous dialogue, hot sex and psychic phenomena won’t make it a five star read for me.

    Reply
    • Josephine

      >>That’s an awful lot of questions, Wave! < < I know. I got carried away. Sorry! 🙂 >>Most important of all, though – I want to feel that the characters have developed and been changed by their experiences. I want them to come out of the novel as a better person than when they started. If that isn’t there, then all the humorous dialogue, hot sex and psychic phenomena won’t make it a five star read for me.< < I agree but sometimes the characters start out fully evolved and the authors write an action adventure,high intensity, plot intensive book for those readers who love those stories and to them it's a 5 star read. I read two books by Geoff Knight that fit that description perfectly and I loved them and rated them as 5 stars because they were incredible adventures. Sometimes a book is just wonderful fun and the characters are secondary to the plot, even though they are still important. That's just my perspective because I love this type of book. >>m not overly fond of too much angst – I prefer a good dose of comedy to writing that takes itself too seriously. What I particularly enjoy, though, are paranormal themes < < I'm with you totally there. Angst can be taken to extremes. I try to read for enjoyment but if there's too much angst my mind wanders. One of the reasons I love paranormals is because there's not too much angst in this theme - they are too busy shifting. LOL >>And I know I’ve said it before, but I do like there to be hot sex woven into the fabric of the story. So long as it needs to be there it’s a real plus point. Extra points if it’s the smokin’, sweaty, urgent kind ;D < < I agree with the hot smoking kind of sex but what about the dull, limp, repetitive kind that we seem to get a lot of in M/M? It seems that the authors have run out of imagination and just copy everyone else. I know there are only so many ways to have sex but gawd let's have a little variety.

      Reply
      • I agree with the hot smoking kind of sex but what about the dull, limp, repetitive kind that we seem to get a lot of in M/M?

        There’s definitely a problem if it’s limp… ;D

        Actually, I haven’t read much of this sort of sex scene, but then I’m pretty choosy about what I’ll read. I did read some fairly boring m/m erotic short stories recently, though. I got the feeling that a lot of them were written by writers having their first try at m/m. There was a lot of finger counting and naming of right and left limbs (who thinks about that when they’re having sex?), although surprisingly few mentions of condoms or lube…

        Reply
        • Jo

          >>There’s definitely a problem if it’s limp… ;D < < I thought you might pick up on that line. 🙂 >>Actually, I haven’t read much of this sort of sex scene, but then I’m pretty choosy about what I’ll read < < When you're reviewing you can't be that choosy. You take the good, bad and indifferent and you never know what you'll get until you crack open the covers. 🙁 >>I did read some fairly boring m/m erotic short stories recently, though. I got the feeling that a lot of them were written by writers having their first try at m/m.< < Because M/M is so hot right now it's fairly easy to make it. Publishers want the sales, and many het authors are writing M/M without really doing the research. My biggest problem is with authors who have switched to M/M, because they have to unlearn everything they knew about "romance" and sex and they should stop dusting off their het plots and using them for M/M. Guys don't act like women most of the time, and sometimes the internal dialogue in the stories as well as the actual sex scenes drive me crazy because the guys in the stories are so inept. My gay friends laugh a lot when I ask their opinions about some of the more ridiculous sex scenes, and they wonder how the authors made it into being published. 🙂

          Reply
  • I would not be a good reviewer because I am easy to please. A story grabs or it doesn’t. Not being a native English speaker grammar mistakes don’t bother me at all. Because I don’t catch them, only thing I will notice is the use of a wrong name.

    As for the story settings and tropes I have a few favourites but I will read everything if I think I will like the story.

    I read for my entertainment not to put all my hours of English teaching to work.

    Reply
    • Ingrid

      >>I would not be a good reviewer because I am easy to please. A story grabs or it doesn’t< < since you're reading for pleasure it doesn't matter. You know what you like and that's the important thing. We all read for entertainment I hope, but if you're reviewing a book I guess you have to at least tell the other readers why you liked it, or not. 🙂

      Reply
  • I’m a stickler for grammar, spelling, and good writing. I find I have no patience for writers who don’t have a very good editor so I am most critical on those stories that have poor grammar/structure and use flowery language, epitaphs, and abuse adjectives.

    My main focus is always characters and character development so I am very forgiving on plot and action. If I can relate to a character and really understand their motivations/desires and I really believe in what they do. Flat characters (even secondary characters) will make me dislike an otherwise interesting book.

    My only requirement with plot is that it be reasonable. I like for characters to respond in a reasonable manner and for the action to be believable. If something stretches reality or too many crazy things stack up, I lose interest. (I mean reality in the loosest of terms).

    That being said, there are books that I love with flat characters and not-so-great writing but that unknown quality that draws you in and keeps you interested.

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    • >>I’m a stickler for grammar, spelling, and good writing. I find I have no patience for writers who don’t have a very good editor so I am most critical on those stories that have poor grammar/structure and use flowery language, epitaphs, and abuse adjectives. <<

      Ditto. In my field, we are trained to write concisely, precisely and, above all, clearly. One of my biggest pet peeves is misplaced modifiers. The opening sentence of a book I began reading two days ago made that mistake; it was almost enough to make me put it back down and step away quietly.

      Instead, I think I’m going to start making a list of sentences with misplaced modifiers. Then one day when I’m really bored, I’ll post them with the explanation of what they truly say and what they’re (probably) meant to say. It ought to be good for a laugh or two. 🙂

      I will most readily admit, though, that the vast majority of the books I’ve read in this genre have been entertaining and engaging. To me, that’s the most crucial test for a writer; the rest can/should be learned/fixed in editing.

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      • Buda

        >>Instead, I think I’m going to start making a list of sentences with misplaced modifiers. Then one day when I’m really bored, I’ll post them with the explanation of what they truly say and what they’re (probably) meant to say. It ought to be good for a laugh or two< < Please do, because I'm running out of ideas for my Friday rants and I would like you to pull your weight in that area please. LOL

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    • Nolagal

      >>I’m a stickler for grammar, spelling, and good writing. I find I have no patience for writers who don’t have a very good editor so I am most critical on those stories that have poor grammar/structure and use flowery language, epitaphs, and abuse adjectives. < < I'm totally with you there. If an author and his/her editors can't be bothered to check the spelling and grammar they can expect that I will mention it in my review. One of the worst cases I came across a few months ago was an author who misspelled prostate throughout her book. How can you be an M/M author and not know the difference between "prostrate" and "prostate." >>My main focus is always characters and character development so I am very forgiving on plot and action.< < I can agree partly because for me the characterizations are extremely important, but plots matter a lot too because my logical mind refuses to accept some things. Recently I was reading a book that was a contemporary and all of a sudden there were paranormal elements and men with huge swords. I was rolling on the floor howling with laughter. However this book garnered several 5's on Goodreads so once again I was in the doghouse. LOL

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