Why Review?

I review almost everything I read on Goodreads and Booklikes. If it’s an indie book available on all e-book retailers, I review it here as well. If it’s a mystery set in New Mexico, I feature it on my other blog, http://amberfoxxmysteries.wordpress.com . The first reason is I do this because I like to read well-thought-out reviews before I shop and this is a way to pay it forward. Reviews by bloggers and regular readers persuade me more than professional reviewers writing for Kirkus or the New York Times. I prefer the quirky things that readers have to say that bring out the flavor of a book. These honest and highly individual responses help me consider my book choices. I’ve never been able to condense a review down to one line, but I’ve read some that do it well and I admire that skill.

Another reason I review is that when I like a book, I want to tell people about it. I may mention a few flaws in a three-star review, but by Goodreads standards, that’s still an “I liked it” review.” I’ve given a few two-stars to books that I thought were worth finishing in spite of flawed writing because of plots and characters I cared about. Talented authors with bad editors sometimes can still hold my attention. I take no pleasure in writing bad reviews, though, so I seldom post anything less than a three-star. This isn’t for the author’s sake, but for my own. I can’t sacrifice my time to books I don’t like. If it looks like a one-star in the making, I exit by page forty.

Maybe the most valuable aspect of reviewing for me is that it makes me think about a book. I might find myself exploring the deeper meaning of a book and its social implications, or I might notice the author’s technical skills in plot development, character creation, and language, even things like the way he or she executes transitions between scenes. This makes me a better book club member when we discuss a book, it makes me a better writer, and most of all a more appreciative reader when I start paying close attention to the next book.

Read a good indie book that’s available everywhere? (By that I mean it’s not exclusive to Amazon.) Interested in being a guest reviewer? Let me know.