It's been a while since I've done a review here. I've had several really bad experiences for a variety of reasons, and I've been taking some time to create a new policy to address several problems.
The majority of books I have received are self-published. Many authors sent me books in dire need of editing. I felt obligated to read the entire book, so my reviews wound up turning into editing sessions. This was not always a bad experience. As a teacher, it's fun to help folks find creative ways to address problems in their projects. However, I was only able to manage to do it while I had a student teacher, which gave me a lot of time to ruminate on issues and how to solve them. After I returned to full time teaching, editing was incredibly time-consuming and took time away from my projects.
Additionally, I felt I had to be honest, but I'm very good at spinning feedback in a positive way. However, I had so many books that were substandard it was beginning to be hard to be positive, which led me to make some bad mistakes with one author that I regret deeply.
As a book blogger, I feel it's important to be honest. Those who visit my site to read reviews are deciding whether or not to purchase a book based on what I say, but I do not like publicly stating why a novel is lackluster. As a teacher, that is something that should be done in private, but I am not an editor being paid to polish an entire novel, so I couldn't really win.
From now on, if you would like a review, please send me the first chapter. I will read the whole chapter. If I don't see issues like excessive exposition, poor editing, flat characters, etc., I will read the whole book and give it a review. If I do not think there's a possibility of a good review, I will reply with a short blurb as to why I would rather not review the book. Sometimes it may be due to personal taste, more often because projects are rushed to self-publication without enough rumination.
I feel the new policy will allow me to give self-published authors a chance, and give me a chance to have a relatively stress-free reviewing process. For more information on what types of books I like to review, click on the "Want a Review?" page above.
If you have contacted me for a review and have not received one, please go ahead and send me the first chapter. After changing computers I lost many of the files I had set aside for review.