The danger of reviews

I recently reread a trilogy that, aside from an abundance of teenage romance, I thoroughly enjoyed. It had a complex and engaging plot, varied and developed characters, and a villain who gave me nightmares. Granted, it wasn’t a literary master piece or anything, but it was fun YA sci-fi.

When I posted my rating on Goodreads, I happened to glance at the other reviews on the page. I was surprised to see a number of fairly negative reviews, in spite of a decent overall rating on the book. Glancing through them, I found that I really didn’t agree with most of the reviews, and the bits that I did sort of agree with weren’t a big enough deal to me to lower my four-star rating.

This is the down side of my up-down relationship with Goodreads. I love seeing what my friends are reading and their reviews–but I hate seeing reviews from total strangers, because I can’t put it in context of their personality.

Book bloggers are a step up, because I feel like I do get some sense of their personality and their perspective after a bit. I can tell where our tastes meet and where they diverge. Usually. If it’s a good blogger.

But my top source of book recommendations is still my circle of bookish friends. We know each other well enough that we can say, “I liked this book but don’t think it would appeal to you” or, conversely, “I didn’t like this book, but it’s right up your alley.” Not only that, if I read a book on a friend’s recommendation, I already know that I have someone to talk to about it when I’m done. Because, seriously, what’s worse than loving a book and having NOBODY to talk to about it? I’m still trying to find someone to squeal about A Corner of White with, by the way, if any of you have read it. The last book in the trilogy is coming out next month and I’m dying here!

So how do you feel about online reviews? Do you check out Goodreads before you pick a book? Any favorite book bloggers?


Bring on the books!

I’ve been poking around Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, and Third Place Books lately for new books to add to my reading list for the year. The list just gets longer and longer, and I want to read them all right now! There are far too many good books out there to be devoured. If you’re interested in seeing what I’m reading in the coming year, you can follow my reviews on Goodreads here. (I think. Let me know if that link doesn’t work.)

One of my favorite things about Goodreads is that you can look back at all the books you’ve read that year. It’s like revisiting dozens of worlds at once. If you’re looking for something new to read, here are some of my highlights from 2014:

Highly anticipated: The Shadow Throne by Jennifer Nielsen

Heartwarming: The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

Thought-provoking: Wonder by RJ Palacio
Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

Creative world building: Jinx by Sage Blackwood
Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

School books: The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea

Fabulous debuts: Uncovering Cobbogoth by Hannah L. Clarke
An Uncommon Blue by RC Hancock.

Quirky: The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer
A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

Nonfiction: The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown
My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke

Happy reading, everybody!

To 100 and Beyond!

So many exciting things have been happening, and I haven’t had the time to blog about any of them!

  • I passed 100 followers last week. That was pretty cool.
  • I got a Goodreads update email—and two of my friends had added Demon’s Heart to their to-read list! Nothing like seeing your cover on a Goodreads email to make it real. Check out the Goodreads page for Demon’s Heart.
  • There is now a pre-order button for my book on my website. You can pre-order through either Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
  • In book-unrelated news, I played tennis for the first time in a couple of years on Saturday. I live in a place where the courts are only dry for three months out of the year, and I missed those three months last year due to traveling and a baby. I love tennis, and it was so good to get out on the court again.
  • And finally, I’m almost done with a crafty sewing project that I started back in November. It’s been sitting on a shelf for months, and I finally pulled out my sewing machine and have been getting the last few pieces sewn on. I feel about sewing machines the way Calvin feels about his bicycle, so this is a big deal.

Happy July, everybody!