Follow the secret lives of Moonlighters Carrie Hinkel-Gill and Margay Leah Justice.
For website issues or questions, contact our Webmistress.
This blog works best with Mozilla. Scroll down to see today's blog.
Please Disable the Java add-on to your browsers to protect yourself from it's security flaws! Happy surfing!
Our Fantasy Files blog returns with a new look!
It's Tuesday, and that means Hollie posted a new review on our Book Review blog! Be sure to check them out!

Current Releases

Buy: Sloane Wolf by Margay; Nora's Soul by Margay; Pandora's Box by Gracen; Hell's Phoenix by Gracen

Video of the Day

We Are Young - Fun

Friday, July 16, 2010


What's the value of a review?

I've been pondering this question a lot lately. I write reviews and I'm always ecstatic to receive a great review. I've received a lot of great reviews (click HERE to read the good reviews), but recently I received a horrid review. I don't have permission from this particular reader to reprint their review, but here's the link if you're curious to read it HERE.

Maybe you're thinking I'm crazy for sharing a bad review, but I'm realistic not everyone will enjoy what I write. I don't enjoy every book I read. Even the bestselling authors get bad reviews. I've read some books that made me wonder why on earth any publisher would take the chance on the author and their book. But, even then, I would never give a review like this one because I don't see the point in belittling another author, but that's just my opinion. Not everyone shares my opinion. AND I am NOT belittling the reviewer for writing his/her opinion. Everyone's opinions are valid, including this reviewer.

What bothered me the most about the review was that the reviewer said he/she was "disappointed" in Elfin Blood and that the storyline was weak. Wow. Tough words for any author to hear. Right? There were some inaccuracies in the review about the storyline, but that was how the reader interpreted my book. So, maybe I didn't make particulars clear enough in the book. Or maybe she/he was so bored they couldn't concentrate on the content enough to discern the real aspects of the book. I'll never know.

On the heels of receiving this terrible review, I received a direct message from a reader who raved about Elfin Blood. She gave me permission to use her review, so here is a part of it:

"It is impossible not to fall in love with Gracen Miller's turn-of-phrase and excellent descriptive passages, making it easy for the reader to imagine themselves in the story experiencing what the characters themselves are seeing/feeling. A VERY dangerous talent when the reader gets to the erotic scenes.....sorry, mind wandered to Landau making love to me...again and again! Where was I? Oh yes....A definite must read for any lover of the paranormal erotic genre. The narrative sweeps you up, dialogue is snarky and sassy, the characters are so realistic it's easy to forget they are preternatural beings. In the end you WILL believe in the existence of sexy, hot vampires, elves and that jewels can sing!" (I will post full review on my website in a few days.)

Fabulous words, exciting words…but, in the back of my mind is the other review, the one that said my story was a disappointment and that the storyline was weak. And that got me to thinking, what's the value of a review? How do you—as a reader—decide if a review is relevant and when to purchase a book or not purchase a book based upon a review?

I know I have bought a book because it received a bad review just so I could form my own opinion. Sometimes I look to see how many people have reviewed it, but there are times reading one negative review skews my entire opinion of a book. Fair? No! But true.

So, tell me, how do you value a review and decide which review is the most accurate for you when deciding which books to purchase?

3 Moonbeams (comments):

Kimberly Joy Peters said...

Ouch. I feel your pain.

There is a great article here to explain why its bothering you so much. . It says that "Your brain preferentially scans for, registers, stores, recalls, and reacts to unpleasant experiences; it’s like Velcro for negative experiences and Teflon for positive ones. Consequently, even when positive experiences outnumber negative ones, the pile of negative implicit memories naturally grows faster. Then the background feeling of what it feels like to be you can become undeservedly glum and pessimistic."

Apart from the science of why you're bothered (and you wouldn't be human if you weren't), let me tackle your question about the impact of reviews.

I still always try to look at the source. For example, in the case of reader reviews for online booksellers, I look at where the majority are, and scan for reviews that give reasons. Just saying "never have I read a book as bad as this one" (and yes, someone did that to me) doesn't really indicate that they put a lot of thought into it. Nor does "I loved this book with all my heart" (yep, got that one, too!). But "the book has beautiful characters and i finnished the book in 2 days and that never happens" gives me something to consider. I also go to a few trusted reviewers whose taste I share, which I think many people do with their friends or families.

I think maybe the bigger question here is one of ethics. You make an excellent point about everone not enjoying the same thing. But should authors be critical about other authors? Or should reviewers adopt the policy of sites like, which reviews only the books it deems excellent, guaranteeing that their recommendations will always be hits, and following the age-old wisdom of "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all"?

Carrie said...

Kimberly kind of covered some of what I was going to say.

As for reviews - while I feel bashing is wrong, I do like a well-done critique - good or bad.

As a reader, I personally wouldn't put much stock in the review by this person because it doesn't get into specifics. Of course, there are quite a few of the positive ones I would ignore too because, while they spin some positive comments, I don't see anything to back up those claims.

When I'm looking for a review, I want to know the "whats" behind the reviewers choice. What makes a story "well crafted...highly sensual and incredibly erotic"? What in the story helped the author come to those conclusions (without giving spoilers, of course!)?

I almost always try to make a decision for myself, unless I know that a particular reviewer and I have felt the same on enough books where I can trust the reviewer's pov.

That being said, I think poor reviews can do just as much as a good review can in some cases, especially if it's a controversial story.

Carrie said...

Another thing I forgot to mention - I always look up a reviewer of a book to see what else they've reviewed.

Your book was the only fiction book she reviewed for amazon, so I wouldn't take much stock in it.

Most everything else reviewed were clothes, accessories, electronic gadgets and technical textbooks/manuals and gave a low grade to anything found difficult to work with.

In fact, one of the text books graded low happens to be in a series that I feel make awesome resources for technical writers - whether you're in the fields or not - because the authors/editors really know their stuff. Also note that another reviewer said the same book was well-organized and easy to follow.

This is why the reader needs to research a reviewer a bit more fully before taking a review to heart, especially on Amazon...