A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, Derrick Knight, Heidi Cullinan, J.A. Rock, Jay Northcote, Jordan L. Hawk, Joseph Lance Tonlet, Keira Andrews, L.B. Gregg, Lisa Henry, Meredith Shayne, Sandrine Gasq-Dion, Susan Mac Nicol

A Sneak Peek and An Uber-Unscientific Poll

TNA BadgeGreetings, everyone, and welcome back to a look at what we’ve got coming up in the week ahead, but first I’d love your feedback.

You may have missed it, but earlier this week I wrote a blog post about ratings. For two days, the review team here at TNA and I had long conversations about assigning numerical ratings to our reviews and, as Rena so deftly stated it, quantifying the unquantifiable. If you’ve seen the post, you know by now that I loathe ratings with every fiber of my being because it’s often little more than giving a number to something as intangible as the feelings we have for a book. Trust me when I tell you there are times it’s more difficult to come up with the number than it is to write the review, and, let’s face it, in the end it’s the words that matter with books, regardless of which side of them we land on—author or reader/reviewer.

So, what I’m asking of you today is to take a brief moment of your time, both readers and authors, please, to weigh in on my desire to do away with the numerical rating system here at The Novel Approach, and to simply allow our reviews to speak for themselves. In order to continue recognizing those books that we want to designate as standouts, however, they would be awarded the designation “A TNA Page Turner” (thank you for that, Taz!), because when we really love a book we do feel it should be offered a little special affection. :) I also welcome your comments on the subject below.

Many thanks and warm regards!

Now, here’s what’s up in the week ahead.


MondaySusan Mac Nicol kicks off our week on the Love you Senseless blog tour, with a giveaway

Joseph Lance Tonlet also drops by today to talk a bit about his debut novel Grif’s Toy, and to give one lucky reader the chance to win an e-copy of the book

TuesdayL.B. Gregg was kind enough to take the time out of her writing schedule to answer a fiew questions for me on her There’s Something About Ari blog tour, and there’s a giveaway

Bottom Drawer Publications presents Meredith Shayne and the Cutting Out blog tour and giveaway

WednesdayJordan L. Hawk is here with an exclusive cover reveal her Brand New Series

Jay Northcote also joins us on the Nothing Series blog tour, with an interview and giveaway

ThursdayKeira Andrews is our guest today with a guest post and giveaway on the Semper Fi blog tour

Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock also stop by with an interview and giveaway on their Brandon Mills Versus the V-card blog tour

Friday – The holidays come early to The Novel Approach with Heidi Cullinan and the Sleigh Ride blog tour and giveaway

Then Derrick Knight joins us on the Miracle on Mistletoe Lane tour with a guest post and giveaway

SaturdaySandrine Gasq-Dion’s Strange Addiction blog tour makes a stop here with a giveaway


And that does it for the week ahead. Thanks for being here and, as always, happy reading!


3 thoughts on “A Sneak Peek and An Uber-Unscientific Poll

  1. Andrea M says:

    I like the idea of ratings in theory but I’m not getting what I need from reviews in general. The blurb tells me about the book but what I want to know is the strength of the story vs. the quantity of the sex scenes and I want to know if the book ends in a cliff hanger. I also want to know about the quality of the writing – stilted, conversational, etc. Basically, I want to know the content of the book more than the reviewer’s opinion. Whether or not a reviewer personally likes or dislikes a book is interesting but not an important bit of information since we all have different tastes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn says:

      Those are good points. To know what the characters are like, what the atmosphere is, what kind of writing style, if the concept is original or cliched or a great twist on a cliche, whether an author did well at pacing, was the ending satisfying and not rushed, etc. are some important things to know. I loathe the reviews (not here) that are only recaps of a story with basically, “I liked it” tacked on Although I know a lot of people want the plot of the story laid out in great detail, I don’t like major plot points (that which isn’t in a blurb) spoiled for me, so I just skim reviews when I see they’re heading into that and jump over to where it seems they’re starting the analysis. Also, if we’re giving pieces of particular text from the story because they highlight the strengths or weakness of the author’s writing, I’m all for that. If the whole review is made up of quotes, I just start skipping, though.

      I have no problem with a reviewer giving their opinion on whether they liked it or not, as I think it brings in the more human element rather than just dry analysis. I also like when a reviewer gives background of their experience, as it lets me understand where their review is coming from. Have they read the author before and liked/disliked others of theirs? Is this their favorite author? Had they just read something similar? Were they not in the mood for/not a fan of intense/light/funny/short/long/YA/sexy reads? All this affects how someone reads a book and could do the same to the review. I’m not saying it has to be, to change Lisa’s wonderful turn-of-phrase, uber-scientific, but I like to feel I can trust the opinion and being open about a reading style helps me understand where the reviewer’s opinion lines up with mine. Plus, once I get to know a reviewer’s opinion, I can sometimes just say, “Well, Lisa really liked that, and our tastes have run similarly,” so I might not even have to read the review, just the reviewer’s name and their opinion at the end and put it on my to-buy list. Which is a thing I have definitely done.

      I said this on the earlier post, but I’ll repeat here. I know a lot of time and effort goes into reviews, and I appreciate reviewers’ work. I don’t just look at the reviews when they’re first posted, I’ll look at them in regards to one particular book, and also do searches for a type, or publisher, etc. to see the reviews that match up when I want to buy for a mood I’m in or if a publisher is having a sale. So, there’s a lot of value in quality reviews.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you! Thank you both so much for taking the time to weigh in on this.

    We all have our own styles of reviewing; some write an essay then summarize at the end, while others deconstruct various points of interest in the novel’s plot, characterizations, tempo, themes, and stylistic highlights and lowlights throughout the review without regurgitating the entire plot. Personally, I don’t want to read a review that tells me, “This happened, then this happened, then this happened,” any more than I want to read a book that’s written like a laundry list of events in the characters’ lives. But, we’re also not professional reviewers, so we each do what’s comfortable to us.

    I’ll be the first to admit it’s very difficult to separate the emotional quotient from reviewing, so I’m terribly guilty of stating what I did and didn’t love in my reviews, but that’s also where the numerical value we assign to our reviews becomes irrelevant. What happens when I, or anyone, reads a book that’s flawless from a stylistic standpoint, has a plot that’s fast pace and suspenseful, but then you see someone–whether it’s on Amazon, Goodreads, here or on any other review site–give the book 3 stars because the reviewer didn’t like something one of the characters did or the way they behaved, or there was too much sex, or too little sex, or the MC said he’d “Never do XYZ, but then he did it and I didn’t like it,” when all that means is that as soon as we say never, fate, karma, the human condition dictates that “never” will always come back to bite us in the arse? LOL. The effect, then, is that number suddenly loses any credibility because we’ve lowballed a perfectly acceptable book on the basis of our own personal biases.

    This is why the number is pointless to me–don’t show me 3 stars because it means nothing. I want the reviewer to tell me what they did or didn’t like about the book, then I’ll decide if some of the things that bothered that reviewer are things that would push my buttons too.


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