Saturday, March 29, 2008

Review Guidelines

On Genre Reviews, I mainly review novels for adults, young adults, and middle grade in the following genre: fantasy, science fiction, mystery, thrillers, romantic suspense, and historical romance. (I also have a nonfiction book blog and a Christian nonfiction book blog. Review guidelines for them are on those blogs.)

If you wish, feel free to run the back cover blurb by me first (in the body of the e-mail me (GenreReviewsDTDP (at) gmail (dot) com)) to see if I'm interested in reviewing a book. I'm sorry, but I no longer review self-published novels. I receive so many book review requests that there's no way I can read even a fraction of them, and it's rare that I've found a self-published novel that I'm interested in reviewing.

I review all books that I request. I post all of my book reviews here, on Amazon, and on Goodreads. I also Twitter about them as I read them.

Please note, I'm under no obligation to review any books sent that I haven't requested. I'm also under no obligation to give the book a good review.

I'm not getting paid for this and have limited time, so I have to draw the line somewhere. I enjoy the following genre, but I'll also warn you what types of books I'm less interested in and therefore less likely to review or give good reviews to:

In fantasy, I like traditional or heroic fantasy. I'm less interested in fantasy set in modern day (unless it's alternate history). I'm also generally not interested in books with witchcraft though I'm okay with "magic." [I know, it sounds like a stupid preference, but witchcraft is real (though novels rarely portray witchcraft correctly) while magic isn't.] See the romance section if the novel contains a romance or is a paranormal romance.

In science fiction, I generally prefer books that don't have aliens in them. I'm more interested in human conflicts. See the romance section if the novel contains a romance.

In mystery, I prefer the main character to be clever and focused on solving the mystery. I've read mysteries where the main character simply stumbles across all the needed clues while focused on doing something else, and I'm really not interested in that type of story.

In suspense or thrillers, read the romance section if there is a romance involved.

In romance, I'm a hard sell. Read the "don't send me" list carefully. I'm more interested in a historical romance than a modern romance, but I will read either. I don't want the focus of the woman's life to be "I must have that handsome hunk." The woman doesn't have to be kick-ass, but I don't like authors who make their smart women suddenly act like an imbecile ("Gee, I know he's trying to kill me, but maybe I should walk right up to him so he can grab me" sort of stupid) just so the hero can come save the day.

Since paranormal romances are popular, I'll state that I don't find it appealing when vampires, werewolves, zombies, demons, or other traditionally evil beings are portrayed as good. If they are evil, then I'm okay with it. If all of their kind but them are evil, then I'm willing to consider it. If they're what traditional fantasy once called shape-shifters, then I don't care if they're good or evil.

In horror, western, women's fiction, or other unlisted genre, I'm probably not interested in reviewing them on this blog, so please don't send them without checking with me first.

I have some rather strong personal preferences. I'm not interested in reading books that contain explicit sexual material (a body-part by body-part description of sex). I also don't like reading novels where people have sex at the drop of a hat and there are no consequences (STDs, pregnancy risks; emotional trauma) to doing so afterward. If there are realistic consequences, then I'm fine with it.

I also don't like books where there is a lot of cussing or swearing. Books that use "he swore" or only have a few cuss words in the entire book are okay. However, I'm not interested in reading a book with one or more cuss words on every page.

When I'm done reading a review copy sent to me by a publisher, author, or publicist, I either run a giveaway for it on my blog or donate it to my local jail or a state prison. I'm involved in prison ministry, and the inmates really look forward to these books.


kaolin fire said...

Do you consider PDFs for review? And would you consider a magazine? :)

Debbie said...

No, I don't accept PDFs for review right now. I don't have an eReader or Kindle and reading long PDFs on my computer is too hard on my eyes.

Hmm. I suppose it would depend on the magazine (so feel free to pitch it to me), but my general inclination would be to say 'no.'

Bonnie J. Doerr said...

Love your premise. I, too, am weary of novels in questionable taste. Not all readers are comfortable being shocked or offended by what they consider inapropriate behavior. Have you thought about interviewing authors before publication? I have a squeaky clean, Christian MG eco mystery coming out in January. Check out my website.

Command Pashmina said...

Would you consider weighing in on an ongoing serialized story?

Debbie said...

Bonnie J. Doerr,

I'm glad you like the blog. I'm sorry, but I only interview authors after I've read and reviewed their books. I love mysteries, though, so you can always offer me a review copy of your book and then we can work on that Author Quirks interview. :)

Debbie said...

Command Pashmina,

I'm not sure what you want when you say "weigh in on" (do you want me to review of the story so far or come make a comment wherever the story is?). But, yes, I'd consider reviewing a serialized story. Feel free to pitch your story.

Actually, just followed your name link. Your story isn't far enough along to review. I'm sorry, but I don't have time to play along.

(For those interested, it's sort of a free choose-your-own adventure story on a website).

Michael Cogdill said...

Debbie, bravo on your work. My novel, She-Rain, launches nationally in March. I'd love your thoughts on the opening pages, just up on the She-Rain blog:

You'll find the back cover synopsis and some early reviews there as well. Let me hear your thoughts.

Peace. Best of times,
P.S. I welcome comments from all of Debbie's followers. I work in television, so it's impossible to wound my feelings! Best to you all!

Gossip Cowgirl said...

This is a great blog. I am a voracious reader, and have always had problems finding well-written, clean books. So I will be closely following your reviews.

The most recent excellent, clean book I read was "Around the World in 80 Dates" by Christa Banister. Fantastic newer Christian author. Other than that, it's pretty much "Redeeming Love" for me, and that's my whole list. So I'll have to check out some of your faves.



Debbie said...

Rebecca Lynn,

Hi. I'm glad you're finding my blog useful. I've enjoyed "Redeeming Love," too, though I read it before I started this blog and thus don't have a review up for it.

I'll check out Christa Banister's novel. Thanks for recommending a novel!

Tristi Pinkston said...

Hi there,

I'm setting up reviews for a YA sci-fi that I think would be right up your alley, but your e-mail address link isn't working for me. Could you drop me a note?


jd chandler said...

I love your blog. I am a big reader too and I appreciate having reviews from real people to help me choose my books.

I recently published my first book as an eBook. I am looking for reading bloggers to read and review it. Here is a link to MUD BAY

If you are interested in reading/reviewing it please let me know your email address and I will send you a copy at no charge.


Debbie said...

JD Chandler,

Thank you. It's nice to know that you love my blog. Thank you for asking, but I'm not interested in reviewing MUD BAY. (I still have a huge stack of review copies and books I've bought that I'm currently trying to work through.) Good luck with your book, though.

Lorilyn Roberts said...

JD Chandler,

I am following you on Twitter and was curious about you, so I checked out your blog. You have three types of books you review, and it sounds like nonfiction memoir would fit into one of those categories.

My book is about the international adoption of my two daughters, comparing their adoptions to our adoption by the heavenly Father. If this sounds like something you would be interested in, let me know and I can send you the blurb from the back cover for more details. I have 47 reviews on Amazon with a 4.8 star rating out of five. I am particularly interested in someone reviewing it who has a strong Christian worldview.

Debbie said...


If you're trying to contact JD Chandler by posting on my blog, please note that he's unlikely to check my blog for his messages. You might track down his blog and contact him there.

On the chance that you're talking to me, you're still posting on the wrong blog. ;) I don't review memoirs on Genre Reviews. Assuming you meant to ask me to review your memoir on my Different Time, Different Place blog, I'm sorry, but I'm not interested in reviewing your book. While it's a good topic, I've read similar books in the past and I'm more interested in reviewing books that cover topics I don't know much about.

Lorilyn Roberts said...

I think I got hopelessly lost in the screen switches. No problem. Thanks for your prompt reply. Lorilyn Roberts

Unknown said...

Hi Debbie,

For decades, I hated reading novels because I dislike the swearing, sex and horror in most, so I decided to write taut, romantic thrillers with none of that. To my surprise, it's easy.

I can suggest a dozen for reviews, but I'm only asking permission to link to your blog from my websites such as CleanNovels.Com.

Keep up the great work!
Will David Mitchell, author

(Note, there are authors named David Mitchell and Will Mitchell. They're definitely not me.

Will David Mitchell

Teena Stewart said...

I cannot find anywhere on your blog to email you so this is the only way I can see to contact you. I have a Christian Romantic Historical novel co-written by four published authors. It is set at the turn of the century and is called Brave New Century. I can provided a pdf for review. Please let me know if you are interested.

Susan Preston said...

Greetings Debbie
Your terms are laid out as clearly as your reviews. (I had been going to ask if you would consider review the first book in a series, shortly to be a print book - but I see that does not fit. I am self-published, and as yet it is only an ebook.)
However, I did want to say that I enjoy your reviews on historical Christian (and I click 'helpful' - because they are).
I appreciate the way you have set out your terms. They are clear, and neither arrogant nor confrontative.
Thank you
Susan Preston