Reviews - A Double Edged Sword

Since becoming published I have started looking at reviews in a different light. That as I reader, and that as a writer. As a writer reviews can give you wings (it's great, you've hit the nail on the head, fist bump), or severely demotivate the you to the point you have writer's block.

The song and dance goes like this:

A bad review ~ Action Stations!

Oh my they hate it!

Frantically flicking through the pages - it's a terrible book!

Why did I seek to publish it?

Why did I even write it?

Never mind, shake it off. Writing away at my new idea.

Is this ok? Will they like it?

No, scrap it.

I can't think of anything.

*head desk*

STILL. CAN'T. THINK. OF. ANYTHING!

*head desk* *head desk* *head desk*

Why did I even think I could write?

I will never write again .... EVER ... blah, blah, blah, you get the general idea.

But talking to other authors there seems to be another type of reviewer, the haters. They hated the hero, the style of writing, the grammar and spelling was terrible (we have it edited), too many UK sayings slipping in, OMG it has spanking in it! They hated everything about it. Now that is the extreme version granted, but many of the authors clearly state a warning in the blurb.

The point is, please don't mark our books down if some of the more smexy elements are not your cup of tea. For example I'm not keen on age play or medical play, there are a couple of books I've read and these aspects just kill it dead in the water for me. Now, that doesn't mean I give the book a bad review, the writing was fine, it just didn't connect with me as a reader. Maybe I should have read the blurb, maybe I should have have listened to the disclaimer posted usually at the bottom of the blurb.

Somehow, someway, you slowly emerge from the deep dark hole that is your writer’s block and realise not everyone is going to like your work. Shakespeare had bad reviews. Jane Austen was the same. The Harry Potter series (a global phenomenon and I think the greatest commercial success known) has one star reviews on amazon! I know right? I couldn’t believe it either. You understand you have joined the long ranks of authors that were published before you. They didn’t stop writing, why should I?

I’m always thinking about writing, since the age of 11 I cannot leave it alone. I wake up and think about it on the way to work. I go to bed wanting more time to write. No matter what anyone says, whether I’m published or not … I AM A WRITER.

Hear me roar!

Now don't get me wrong, a well balanced review can be a great tool to see if you have been successful in connecting with your reader, tell us what you've enjoyed and where you think we could have improved ~ we love feedback. LOVE IT! (see, I even went for bold AND italics just to show how much we love it).

Now stepping down from my high horse, here are some of the books I’ve enjoyed recently from a reader’s perspective (I really need to stop being a hypocrite and leave reviews for them...note to everyone out there, be better than me).

‘Learning to Trust’ by Hilary Claire

I’m highlighting this one for the warm, fuzzy reader. It’s a historic western starring Caleb, as the widowed rancher, and Megan, the mail order bride he didn’t send for but has arrived unexpectedly on his porch, and you follow their journey as a couple. Caleb listens to Megan, they talk through their problems and clear, but not unreasonable boundaries are set. This is an excellent example of a story that focuses on the domestic discipline side of things and less on the sex, it’s there but not the main focal point. Megan is a sweet young woman but on occasions can dig her heels in and drop a curse or two, much to her new husband’s disapproval. I generally like the slow build of trust that develops as two compatible people are thrown unexpectedly together and the strengthening of their bond.

‘Mastered’ by Kasey McKay

(warning: this one focuses heavily on dominance and submission themes including bondage and anal play, come on people, it’s a ménage of course it goes there eventually)

At the opposite end of the scale we have Mastered, have the fire department on standby, this is one unashamedly HAWT erotica. It focuses on a BDSM relationship between a ménage à trois. Tom ‘rescues’ the inexperienced Hailey from getting in over her head when she enters a slave auction. The aim was to raise funds to bail out a no good younger brother. Instead, the curious Hailey finds herself being Tom’s and his friend, Adam’s submissive for the weekend as they slowly tutor her what is truly means to submit. Now generally whether I enjoy books like this is a bit of a coin toss as sometimes I can find the sex scenes monotonous, but in this one I found the chemistry to be positively crackling. The scenes to be extremely well written, flowing smoothly and slowly escalating with the heroine exploring her submissive side with two firm, dominant but protective men. But will only a weekend be enough for any of them?

‘Roasted’ by Susan Shannon

(Warning: this book contains anal play and vegetables are not the only thing to get roasted)

So I’ve given you the sweet. I’ve given you the sexy. This book is between the two.

A cookbook and a spanking romance - what is there not to love? (Ahh the amount of puns I could make… let’s just say I’m resisting). After being humiliatingly dumped by her ex, the heroine Cass packs a bag and heads to Alaska, where she attracts the attention of her very own mountain man. I loved Cass, I connected with her immediately as she is a loveable klutz with the same insecurities that many of us suffer and can relate to. The hero Killian, is strong, firm and won’t let Cass put herself down, again there is affection but also a teasing element which is a great dynamic between the couple. For me the relationship formed a bit too quickly - but hey this is fiction, go with the flow! This has the sexy read and the feel good factor as Cass re-discovers her self-worth.

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