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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Guest Post: Reviews by Cassi Carver + Giveaway


In celebration of her most recent release, Dark Flight, Cassi Carver graciously accepted to stop on the blog during her virtual blog tour, and share her thoughts on book reviews. I think it’s a great post since it reassures me, as a blogger, that my reviews aren’t lost in cyberspace. Some authors, like Cassi, really appreciate our thoughts on the books they’ve written. So check out down below what Cassi thinks about reviews!

Also, don’t forget to enter Cassi’s giveaway at the bottom of the post!


Hi, everyone! I’m so happy to be back on Tynga’s Reviews today! You guys have been so supportive since the very beginning of The Shadow Slayers series, and I wanted to talk today about something I rarely discuss: reviews.

Yes, I’m a writer, but I’ve been a reader for most of my life. Although reading seems pretty easy, there was a time when I thought reviewing was another matter entirely. When Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads came into my life, bringing with them those little boxes yearning for my words of wisdom on a recent read and five empty stars to fill, I shied away—overwhelmed at the task and underwhelmed at my ability to write a review.

But reviewing a book should be easy, right? Maybe, but I know several people, even in my professional writers group who still cringe when they’re asked to write a review. I’ve had several people ask me, as though I should be an authority on the matter, “How does one write a review?” And when that happens, my mind goes blank for a moment as I frantically search the wrinkly gray matter inside my skull for an answer.

Then I realize that I don’t really have a perfect answer because reading is such a personal experience, and every review is going to be as unique as the reviewer. When I read a book, for instance, I usually connect on an emotional level. Because of that, I may not point out every metaphor or plot device, but I can tell you what I liked about it and what I didn’t. I can tell you if it was satisfying or if I wish it would have ended differently. I may not be able to draw comparisons to great literature, but I know if the story worked for me. And I think that’s all we need to do.

Trust me, as an author, I want to know what you think. Authors don’t mind if reviews are gut level reactions or beautiful works of writing themselves. What we want to know is that you took the time to read our book and what it made you feel. Were you dancing on air? Did you want to chuck your e-reader across the room?

Every author should know that the best way to sell a book is still word of mouth. That takes some pressure off of readers because even if you give a book three stars, you don’t have to feel bad. You may say the book has “way too much sex in it,” but when you post that review, there may be another reader who sees it and thinks, “Yes! Finally enough sex!” Most any review is better than a book not being talked about at all.

So to help the reader who is unsure of how to review a book, I want to give you a very brief checklist of stuff you might want to include in your reviews.

  • Have you ever read this author before?
  • Is this book in a series or does it stand alone?
  • What is the genre and page (or word) count?
  • What was your initial reaction to the book? What did you like about it?
  • Who were your favorite characters and why?
  • How was the pacing? Did it seem slow or action-packed?
  • How would you describe the spice level? Did it seem to fit the story?
  • Was there anything confusing about the book that was never answered?
  • Did you want to keep turning the pages to see what happened next up until the very end of the book?
  • Did the book turn out like you were hoping? If not, what would you have changed?
  • Would you be interested in reading another book from this author?

So those are a few ideas to get you started, and you can include as many or as few of them as you like. That’s the beauty of it—your review is up to you!

I have a few helpful tips though, for both authors and reviewers. Reviewers—try to keep your comments about the book and never personally attack the writer, even if you think the book stinks like a rotting road kill and only a weenie would have written it. Authors—don’t ever respond to a bad review. It never helps, and besides, people are entitled to their own opinions. Just be happy readers are talking about your book.

So…do you ever review books? If not, I suggest you check out Goodreads. It’s a really cool forum to meet friends and discuss the books you’re reading. Check it out here.

Now you’ve heard my thoughts on reviews—what are yours? Comment and be entered to win a copy of Dark Flight, the third book in my spicy urban fantasy series. And of course, if you get around to reading The Shadow Slayer series, I’d love to hear what you think!


Thank you Cassi for stopping by!

Here’s more about Dark Flight:cassi carverDark Flight

Kara has been training for months to help take down Brakken—the merciless black-wing who is making life hell for the Demiáre. But when Julian discovers a scout has been tracking Kara, he wants her out of the fight—even if it means breaking her heart in the process.

Gavin isn’t much better. He’s already lost so much to Brakken and has no intention of allowing the woman he loves to be the next sacrifice. He and Julian have their hands full trying to fight Brakken’s army and keep Kara safe, especially after her recent visit to the mythical white-wings. Since her return, she’s been acting decidedly…strange.

With a terrible battle looming, Kara doesn’t have time to think about her conflicted feelings for Gavin and Julian—or the fact that she’s developed an unnatural taste for Gavin’s blood. But if she thought it was complicated evading mysterious scouts and fending off vicious black-wings, she’s learning that’s nothing compared to loving two strong-willed men.

Product Warnings

This book contains angels that aren’t what they seem, a heroine with mad midwifery skills, and a metamorphosis that will change life as we knew it.

Purchase: Amazon

My thoughts

Read an excerpt


Cassi is giving away e-copies of Dark Flight to three (3) lucky winners who comment on this post.

To enter the giveaway, fill out the Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


More about Cassi Carver:

cassi carver 2She lives in sunny Southern California with her two dogs, four kids, five chickens, and one hubby who gives great massages. She gets to the Gaslamp for research (okay, happy hour) as often as possible. She’s never saved the world, but keeps sexy boots on hand just in case the opportunity arises.

When not busy plotting and writing, she enjoys reading, spending time with family and friends, caring for pets, getting outdoors, and trolling makeup counters for that elusive shade of eye shadow and lip gloss that will finally bring her lasting cosmetic fulfillment.


19 People left their mark' :

  1. I check them out but unless there are more than a couple in agreement I go with my gut.

    1. That's true, Victoria. When you're trying to read reviews and they all say different things, you just have to go with your gut. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. The first 4 questions I agree completely with; the others depend on: is it a new author, or story plot I wasn't aware of when purchased...good questions all though!

    1. Thank you for visiting, Diane! Good luck with the drawing and happy reading!

  3. Thank you to Stephanie and Tynga for having me today! Happy reading, everyone!

  4. I agree with her ideas about reviews. I use most of them. I post reviews for almost evey book I read. Thanks for a few that I never thought adding for reviews. Going to use a couple.
    christinebails at yahoo dot com

    1. That's awesome that you post reviews for almost every book you read! I'm trying to be better about that. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I should try to remember to always write a review. I know that writers do appreciate it.

    1. Yes, they do, Mary. But there's no pressure. It's the sort of thing where if you don't enjoy doing it, then don't do it. Reading is about being happy! :D

  6. Im not the best at writing reviews unfortunately but will always write a few lines about the book. There are some great tips there and Ill try them the next time I finish a book :)

  7. Thanks for putting some questions that would make my reviews better. I basically skim reviews to get an idea about a book but always looking out for spoilers. A review doesn't make me buy or not buy a book though because everyone's tastes are different.

  8. I don't really "review" books but I do put up my initial thoughts and feelings on GR. They aren't meant to be "professional" in any way. Just a way for me to track what I thought about the books I read :)

  9. I try to keep my reviews short and to the point since that's the type of review I like to read. I don't want a summary since that's what the blurb is for. I just like to know what they liked or didn't like about it. I rely on reviews for most of the books I choose to read. I agree that even bad reviews can be good since several times I've read a negative review that said there was too much romance and that's what made me want to read it.

  10. I think most people put a lot of time into the reviews. I do read the bad reviews too, because lets face it, it is just one person's opinion.

  11. I'm not great at writing reviews, but I do love to read reviews about books. Thanks for the tips and the chance to win!

  12. Those are all great advice on reviewing books! I write a review on almost every book I read and I am obsessed with goodreads

  13. I try to read a few to gather different points of view of a book and decide if I should read it or not. They are helpful most of the times!

  14. I usually included the significant details in my review, Amazon helps..

  15. I don't write actual reviews usually, but I do try to at least rate them on Goodreads when I finish them. I usually enter the info from my kindle which isn't really the best place for typing.