I’m curious to know who your ‘go to’ reviewer/rater is if you happen to be umming and arring about purchasing a book?
Is there an individual or site or whatever you always check out whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the new releases and, for the love of The Book Goddess, want a – just the one, goddammit – decent recommendation?!
Or maybe you’re a lemming to this particular person’s cliff??
I’m not wanting to start a popularity contest here by any means, rather I’m hoping this might be a useful sharing exercise for readers hoping for such info, especially regarding reviewers associated with the m/m romance genre.
I’ll start, shall I? 😀
My two, good old standbys are Kassa and Jenre.
I guess it goes without saying that both are much nicer than I am. In spite of this 😛 , I find Kassa’s responses to different themes, etc tend to be pretty similar to my own and Jen’s thoroughness answers any questions I may have about whether a book is for me or not.
Most importantly, though, I trust them for their honesty. I know they won’t fuck me over as a reader in order to placate someone else. That’s the bottom line as far as I’m concerned.
But that’s me. Who are your fave reviewers and why?
I have a whole slew of reviewers who don't sugarcoat like Smexy mandui, Kmont, Booksmugglers, Kati, Fiction Vixen, Smokinhot', Tam, Jenre… to name only a few.
And you of course ;P
The usual I can check are Jen, Val at Obsidian Bookshelf, Kassa although our tastes are a bit different I've figured out where we mesh. I find Cole at Wave's matches me pretty well. Wow. That's about it. LOL There aren't a lot of reviewers I guess of m/m that I follow faithfully. Many of the reviewers at Wave's I find are pretty good match for me and I'm learning which of the newer ones match me and which don't but I don't really have a particular connection to any of them that I haven't already mentioned.
I am certainly not a lemming (or having sex like one either) but time has shown me when I know a theme will work for me and when to pass even if a top reviewer loved it. I'm learning over time that being a lemming usually results in a rather large folder titled “meh” or “someday”.
Oh crap. I forgot Lily. Lily and I have very similar taste. Now I feel bad. LOL
My tastes run extremely similar to Jane at Dear Author, who doles out a ton of recs to me on Twitter (since I nag her to death). I also consistently get good recs from Elyssa Papa, who beta reads for the entire natural born world, so knows what's coming out.
But I get recs from lots of people. If Ana at Book Smugglers likes a romance novel, I will too. I almost NEVER get a recommendation that I like from AAR, which is weird because they have a ton of reviewers. But any time I buy a book that someone on AAR's Review page has recommended, it's a DNF.
Or, it could just be that I'm a pain in the ass reader. Which I'm willing to cop to.
Kassa and Jen. Kassa I know also checks for editing and grammar things and such and ( well both do) but she marks them down heavily for it. So when I read that, I add a few points for myself.
I also like the reviews of my german friends at Wave's. Dunno if that is because they are both Continental and we share some cultural backgrounds from which we define our tastes. Can't say but it feels like we have something in common. Which I don't always have with American friends/reviewers.
Mandi and Tori from Smexy books, Sophia from Fiction Vixen, Rebecca from Dirty Sexy books.
Orannia, Hilcia, Janna, Jenre, Kris, Chris and Tam.
There's also http://one-good-book.blogspot.com/.. I don't know her name, but she and I have very similar tastes in books and I find her to be very fair in her analysis.
*ZAP* You Are Inspiration.
Why the heck am I NOT doing book recommendation tweets? Totally on it.
(I avoid reviews of books I haven't read like urine stains on the subway.)
KBC: I'm not to be trusted. 😛
The Book Smugglers have pimped more books to be than anyone else combined. I approach their site each day with trepidation. 🙂
Tam: “I'm learning over time that being a lemming usually results in a rather large folder titled “meh” or “someday”.”
LOL. I'm going to do the sheep thing and start renaming some of my folders this way, Tam.
Val and Lily form part of my measuring stick as well. 🙂
Kati: “Or, it could just be that I'm a pain in the ass reader. Which I'm willing to cop to.”
Aren't we all at times. LOL.
I suppose I shouldn't admit it but the big review sites like AAR tend to put me off because I feel overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of reviews they post. I prefer the smaller sites that post 1 – 2 a day. I feel like I'm able to digest more and am also way more comfortable about things like the consistency of the reviews.
Apart from yours of course, I tend to go more with the blurb & if it's an author I've already read & liked.
When I'm not sure what I want to read next from my TBR list, but have an idea of genre, I'll read reviews – people on GR who have similar taste, Kassa, Rainbow Reviews – not one specific person, really but more to refresh my memory and give me a rough idea if I'm going to weep, etc – sorry.
Ingrid: “I also like the reviews of my german friends at Wave's. Dunno if that is because they are both Continental and we share some cultural backgrounds from which we define our tastes. Can't say but it feels like we have something in common. Which I don't always have with American friends/reviewers.”
That's a really interesting perspective, Ingrid. I hadn't really thought about this before but you're right. I have a strong Brit background so I know if there are certain things that appeal to Jen about a book they will also hit my happy reader buttons too. Great point.
Dani: I'm very familiar with Mandi, Tori and Sophia *mutterdamnedpimpsmutter*, but Rebecca is new to me. Thanks for the rec. 🙂
Mariana: Lucky you mentioned me in those great recs. You just got some points back. 😛
And I'll be adding that site to my reader thingy. Cos, you know, I needed to subscribe to more.
Miranda: “I avoid reviews of books I haven't read like urine stains on the subway.”
And thank you so very much for that olfactory memory. Blech.
You're welcome, btw.
Juni: “Apart from yours of course…”
“When I'm not sure what I want to read next from my TBR list, but have an idea of genre, I'll read reviews – people on GR who have similar taste, Kassa, Rainbow Reviews – not one specific person, really but more to refresh my memory and give me a rough idea if I'm going to weep, etc – sorry.”
So, you buy according to your own preferences, Juni, but when it comes to the actual reading you might then look at the reviews to help you decide what you're in the mood for?
Weird. No wonder I like you so much. XD
(And I actually meant it)
Aw thanks, Mate :).
I tend to look at Kassa, Val and Lily's site and also some of the reviewers at Wave's site, especially Cole and Aunt Lynn. Chris' mini reviewettes are great for a quick snapshot opinion and I've bought many a book based on her recommendation. Because I know these reviewers well I can adjust my own rating system to theirs.
I've also recently discovered a new reviewer (or new to me anyway) Alex at Between the Covers whose reviews have, on the whole, matched with my opinions too and so I'm keeping an eye on that site for any recs.
I also look at Good Reads where I get a better idea of the spread of marks and I have a few readers there, like Jason, whose opinion I respect.
I hope I haven't forgotten anyone now!
Crap. I knew I'd forget someone. Tam! Obviously I respect her as a reviewer otherwise we wouldn't be working together at BER. I've spent an awful lot of money on books thanks to that lady :).
I'm answering your question right now.
In my head.
Mariana: Sure you did. ;P
Jenre: Not even having a snotty head is going to make up for you forgetting about Tam. 🙂
Thanks for the linkity to Alex's review site. I'll be keeping an eye on that from now on too.
KZ: Don't tell me you've gone all diplomatic and stuffs, KZ??
Gah! So many! Jen (even before I knew y'all, I used the 4-5 star books at Well Read as a shopping list), Tam, Lily, Val, Enny, Jase, you… I know I'm probably forgetting someone. 🙂
The big thing is knowing how my tastes fit with theirs/yours. I trust y'all.
You're too nice. *blush*
I look at your ratings then for reviews Jen, Val, Lily. Tam and Chris for short/quick yes or no.
I like to read Smexy, FV, Smokinhot, Booksmugglers but I dont necessarily go to them when first checking out books. I do like their sites though.
I also tend to scan my “friends” on GR when I check out a particular book to get a feel if they like/dislike the book. Ami and Justacat from GR tend to be similar to me. I don't tend to identify with most on JW's site.
Oh and I don't rate books down due to poor grammar but usually those mistakes are part of a larger problem with the book and I try to point them out because I know some readers are really picky about that.
The girls at Smexy Books, Katie Babs, KMont at Lurve, Dear Author, Book Smugglers, and most recently Rebecca at Dirty Sexy Books. There are more but you know…
Chris: “The big thing is knowing how my tastes fit with theirs/yours.”
That's it. You come to learn the other reviewers, raters, readers out there whose tastes mesh with yours… then the book buying can really begin. 😉
Kassa: “You're too nice. *blush*”
You know that comments get sent to me via email, right. Well, I kept this one. As proof. 😛
I scan the peeps at goodreads too. I've learnt that by taking a star off certain reader's ratings I'll get a good idea about whether I'll like the book or not.
FV: Look at all your mentions, Sophia. People must like you or something… in spite of the llama love. ;P
Rebecca's site has been added to my google reader. I look forward to reading more of her reviews.
I've found that Tam, Val, Jen, Chris, Kassa and a couple from Wave's site most closely match my likes/dislikes. I like yours too Kris although you don't do quite so many nowadays. I also read Eyre and Janna's reviews as well.
Well…nobody's yet mentioned Book Utopia, so I will. I check her site regularly, because I find her reviews articulate and insightful. That doesn't mean I always agree with them, but I deeply admire her intelligence and professionalism.
Lily: I'm so glad that everyone is mentioning me considering my being renown for reviewing and rating. ;P
Eyre and Janna are great recs too. Thanks Lily!
KZ: Yes! She reviews at the Three Dollar Bill's site as well. In fact, all the reviewers at that suite are very good.
Hmmm. If I had to pick one….I don't know if I could. I always like to get a number of opinions because there is never a perfect match. And I seem to get most of them from GoodReads. It's often seeing what friends are reading, thinking 'hmmm' and then seeing what they thought that tempts me 🙂
WOW, another fence sitting answer 🙂
And I adore the LOLCat photo. So my new work desktop wallpaper *grin*
There are a lot of review sites I go to, but for m/m the best recs for me tend to come from Sarah Frantz at Dear Author (she's just about gold for me) or Chris (although she's a bit more generous than I am – if she rates something 5 stars, I'm confident I will like it and be glad to have spent my money there. You have made some good recs to – Willa Okati's And Call Me In the Morning springs to mind – although you don't seem to actually review that many books here 🙂
I like the reviews at Brief Encounters and Smokin Hot Books, Dear Author and Smart Bitches Trashy Books along with a ton of other sites too – Anime June's reviews (although she doesn't review m/m) at Gossamer Obsessions are usually very funny and articulate – basically, it doesn't matter so much whether I agree with the grade, it's whether I can tell from what the reviewer says whether it is likely to work for me.
Like others have commented up thread, it's a matter of knowing where your tastes mesh/differ from the reviewer's and for a new-to-me reviewer, it's about there being enough for me in the review to get a fair idea about whether I'll like the book – if in doubt, I'll probably go and read an excerpt at the author's site or the publisher's site.
Orannia: “I always like to get a number of opinions because there is never a perfect match.”
I do that too at goodreads, unless, that is, a book is screaming at me to buy it on the basis of blurb and/or review alone.
Kaetrin: “Like others have commented up thread, it's a matter of knowing where your tastes mesh/differ from the reviewer's…”
Yes. I think that's probably why so many of us have than a couple of reviewers and sites that we go to because the people who have similar tastes to us. I think that's interesting as well as being very good for other readers to know.
Kassa and Jenre are my two most trusted sources as our tastes seem to mesh fairly well, and they will point out if there are issues with the writing itself as I am a bit of a lit snob and hate wading through poor prose.
Cole is probably the reviewer at Wave's who matches my taste the best. There are plenty of others I enjoy reading, but you asked about the “go to” reviewers and it would have to be those three first 🙂
Jenre for m/m, we generally seem to like the same things. Though occasionally not. But I think that's quite a good thing. I get to read books I might not otherwise read. And even if I don't like them, they are usually well written.
For urban fantasy – Lurv a la Mode.
Josephine: I definitely wanted to know your 'go tos'. If you're anything like me you'll probably have slightly less than a gazillion review sites in your google reader, but that doesn't mean they are necessarily the people who you go straight away to when you want a rec, right. 🙂
Lesley: KMont and the Book Smugglers for all books UF, PNR and spec fic. Those pimps.
Well, I've learned the hard way that first and foremost the blurb of the book has to interest me. I've bought several books that people raved about that I ultimately gave up on because it was a genre I didn't like, like sci-fi or spec-fic.
But if it's a book that sounds good, I first check to see if you, Jen, or Kassa have rated it. If it got positive from any of you, I'll get it. Otherwise there are a few other people on goodreads whose tastes tend to match mine, like Chris, Ami, and Elaine so I'll look to see what they rated it.
Funny, though I'm a pretty easy rater, I tend to look for reviewers who rate more harshly. I figure if they like it, it must be really good. 😛
Richelle: “Funny, though I'm a pretty easy rater, I tend to look for reviewers who rate more harshly. I figure if they like it, it must be really good. :P”