As a reviewer, I try to be consistent with the rest of AAR’s team in terms of what an A, B, C, D, or F grade means. I know, however, that there will always be judgment calls – not just in terms of what grade we think the book deserves, but even in terms of what the grades are. I wrote this piece to talk about what, very generally, places a book for me at each grade level. If there are multiple descriptors, the book might have all or just one of them. […]
Previously on the blog, AAR’s Kristen wrote about how many different corners of Romancelandia there are, and how there seems to be less and less overlap in the “must-reads” and canonical works of each corner. There’s Amazon best-seller Romancelandia, Twitter Romancelandia, Goodreads Romancelandia, and blog circles that overlap to varying degrees, just to name some of the biggest players. With all of these places, and a world in which reading time is unfortunately and totally unfairly finite, where do our reviewers look for buzz? How do reviewers pick the books that end up on our review database? […]
Note: This piece contains spoilers for Marrying Daisy Bellamy by Susan Wiggs. Be warned!
As a reviewer, avoiding spoilers in my assessment of a novel is important. Generally, the rule is that anything that is revealed on the back cover summary or within the first 100 pages of a novel is okay to share; anything past that, would be spoiling the novel. Of course, sometimes it’s the information that occurs after the first 100 pages that make or break a novel. I’ve gotten pretty good at making my allusions to such events vague enough that my criticism (or praise) is clear, but the plot development is not.
I admit it: I am a Malcolm Gladwell fan girl. I don’t stalk his blog or anything, but I’ve read all his books – two of them twice – and found them all fascinating. I recently reread Outliers: The Story of Success, and was giving some thought to the notion of expertise. If you haven’t read it, or aren’t familiar with the idea, the whole book discusses at length the idea that in order to be an expert at anything at all, you need to put in ten thousand hours of work. Talent is important, but mostly because it fuels hard work.