I have always been primarily a science fiction reader. Nowhere else in literature have I encountered such a concentration of hope and faith in the triumph of the human spirit. It has been a pleasure to translate my love for literature as art and as a vehicle for exploration of what it means to be human into book reviews aimed at helping new and returning audiences find the stories (and the authors) that speak to them. Particularly, my review partner and I both value writing reviews in such a way that readers know what to expect from a book (the language, the style, the message) without betraying any spoilers.
I look, in books, for beauty – for a tale well told, for stunning imagery and setting, for graceful and arresting language, for inspiring and heroic characters.
In the rest of my life, I’m searching for similar things. I love tabletop RPGs and board games with a good story or rich characters. I am fascinated by grand world-building video games (even though I am *terrible* at playing them – I play them for the story) and have amassed quite the collection. I participate in local and global writing and reading events, and enjoy participating (as much as possible) in local and global communities around writing and reading.
As far as a book review policy is concerned, I maintain the following tenets:
- I only set out to read books for review if I expect to enjoy them. For the most part, that leads me to post a lot of three- through five-star ratings. However, this does not mean I will shy away from giving a deserving book a lower rating. Above all else I strive to make my reviews constructive, honest, and actionable. I pledge to be neither cruel nor a sycophant.
- My primary home for reviews will always be this blog, and I will always publish my long-form reviews here. However, I may also publish reviews (long-form, truncated, or excerpted versions) on Goodreads and Amazon, as well as NetGalley. I also post links to review from this blog on Facebook and Twitter.
- My DNF (did not finish) policy is pretty strict. I will not decide to DNF a book until I’ve read at least 20% of it. I will not post a full review of a book I DNFed. However, if a book is particularly noteworthy (or its DNF status was a complete shock to me) I may post a response to it, discussing my choice to DNF it. I will announce at the beginning of any such response that this is a DNF response, not a book review.
- I will not agree to review deadlines I am not sure I can meet, and while I always strive to complete reviews in a timely manner, I may not always have the freedom to publish a review right after I finish the book.
- I will not accept money (or other stuff) in exchange for a positive review. My reviews are mine. Not even my partner has any control over my reviews (and I don’t have any control over his) We do, however, collaborate, coordinate, and respond to each other.
My ratings are:
- 5 stars: I loved this book and cannot find notable fault in its prose, pacing, world-building, self-awareness, characters, plot, or elsewhere.
- 4 stars: I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but one or two of the categories above may have been notably flawed in some way.
- 3 stars: This book is still technically a “net positive”, but has significant content and structural flaws.
- 2 stars: I would not recommend this book. This book is plagued by faults in many of the categories above and both its readability and its enjoyability suffer as a direct result of these flaws.
- 1 star: A one-star book is a book I think is so flawed (in content or instructure) as to be unreadable.