Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Reviews of Certain Books

Lately, I’ve reviewed and/or given my opinions about some books I’ve read.

If your book has been published within the last two years and you’d like my review (or maybe just my opinion) posted on this humble blog, let me know. I am amenable to reviewing certain books. Under certain conditions. Namely, these:

I prefer a physical copy— either an ARC, bound galley, or the published book itself. I don’t do pdf-versions or documents or anything else that requires reading from a computer screen.

I’m picky. I prefer fiction—specifically Appalachian writing or Southern writing. If the book is about horses or dogs, that’s a plus. I want a definite plot and interesting characters. I don’t generally read fantasy/science fiction (unless you write like Ray Bradbury or Mike Allen), horror, romance, erotica, thrillers, poetry, or anything over 350 pages (unless you’re Jodi Picoult, John Irving, or Audrey Niffenegger). I don’t want books that are mired in misery or where everyone comes to bad ends (OK—maybe one character who really deserves it). I don’t want to read about animal abuse, child abuse, or spouse abuse. I also don’t want to read anything guaranteed to touch my heart. (Only cardiologists may touch my heart, and they’d better have a sound medical reason for doing so.) I’m especially interested in commercially-published middle-grade and YA novels.

I’m open to non-fiction that is local/regional history or memoir. However, I don’t want to read a memoir that’s a litany of how miserable your life was—even if it was. Memoirs that capture a specific time/place are fine. I’ll also review grammar books or books about how to improve your writing. Or books about horses.

Since I’m self-pubbed and POD-pubbed, I’m open to self-published or POD books, but I won’t read anything published by Writer Beware’s “Twenty Thumbs-Down Publishers.” Yeah, I may be missing out on some great reads, but I’ll take that risk. I will, however, stop reading a self-pubbed/POD book when I hit the 5th grammatical error, 10th misspelled word, or 20th typo—whichever comes first.

If you have paid someone to review your self-pubbed/POD book, I don’t want to read it. I will assume, rightly or wrongly, that—if you were desperate (or naive) enough to pay for a review—your book is not something I’d enjoy. If you’ve fallen for the paid book review scam, you have my sympathy—but not my review.

If your book has been out for more than two years, it’s old news now. Yeah, I occasionally comment on older books that I’ve just discovered, but those are usually books that everyone else has already discovered or someone I know has recommended the book to me as a “must read.”

If I can’t find anything good to say about your book, I won’t post a review but might e-mail you privately. (Odds are good I didn’t finish your book.)

And I don’t do “stars”—as in the “five-star reviews” that clog up And I don’t do reviews on I did one or two several years ago, but no more. I do not aspire to be Harriet Klausner.

Keep in mind that I’m not highly qualified to review. I don’t have a background in publishing. My master’s in English isn’t an MFA in creative writing; it’s an MAT in English education. I have published some reviews in local/regional publications—including two newspapers, but they’re a far cry from Publisher’s Weekly or NYT book reviews. Reviews I’ve done of self-pubbed books are here, here, here, here, and here.

However, I can generate a bit of blog-buzz, if that’s what you’re after.

If you’d like to send me a copy of your book (or ARC, etc.), query me via e-mail me (including a one-paragraph summary of your book) and I’ll get back to you. My contact info is on my website.

Marian Perera recently posted some good suggestions for book reviews on her Flights of Fantasy blog.

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Blogger Amy Tate said...

Thanks for the blog link. She does have some good tips!

4:55 PM  
Blogger Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

I'll read the sad, dark ones about terrible things. Why do I like reading those kinds of books?!

9:06 PM  

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