Well, this is not a review site. But the site of a very good writer, who happens to review books in his blog. J. C. Allen is the author of the trilogy Chronicles of Time, and the stand alone books M.O.D. and Novel Ideas. Chronicles of time is a YA series. I have my copy waiting for a lil time to read it. I can´t wait. M. O. D. is a gripping thriller with sorta good guys and sorta bad guys; it is really unclear who is who while they fight and chase each other with the nation as hostage. I haven´t seen Novel Ideas, so I can´t tell.

J. C. is in a peculiar situation. He writes from jail. He claims to be innocent, and I happen to believe him. I knew about him through his mother, who is an amazing woman. Shirley is strong, yet sweet and loving, with a lot of common sense. He wrote Chronicles of time to have a way to be in contact with his children. It gives me goosebumps. 

He only reviews physical books, so he was the first one to have a look at the paperback version of The Pearl. I have to admit I was nervous. He has this system that takes chips out when he finds things he doesn´t like. :)

Have a look at the review.

My review of the reviewer:

Communication: 5 stars. All the communication was through Shirley, and let me tell you: she is efficient. She made it all possible, even when there were bureaucratic issues that got in the middle. Just unbelievable. If, in another lifetime, I ever manage a big business, I would certainly call her in.

Integrity: 5 stars. The system he developed for reviewing is almost "scientific". It is his opinion of course, but he takes the job of separating his personal expectations. You can see it looking at the whole lot of reviews. But particularly in Pearl. You see, I am sissy, and I don´t like blood, so even when there are fights in the books, I fast forward the bloody parts, and pay more attention to the relationships parts. I never realized it was a very feminine book, but it does make sense. I am a girl after all, not a pink underwear type of girl, but a girl. He went crazy with this, because he had his sword in hand and nobody to really fight with. But he separated his expectations from the analysis of the book. Just amazing, and very revealing for me. I learned a lot reading the review.

Quality of reviews: 5 stars. Well, I said a lot under integrity. He analyzes the cover, the formatting and grammar, and the story, taking chips out when he finds things he doesn´t like. A neat system.

Overall, a great writer writing great reviews.  Highly recommended.

 

 

 

 

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I saw Kirsty in GoodReads, and liked her reviewing style. She is very clear and well balanced. She has a review website and reviews fantasy, even when her preferences go toward YA, so I contacted her. She decided to give Pearl a try and put the book in her TBR (To Be Read) list.

A month later (Christmas got in the middle), the review is up:

Review of The Pearl, by Amethyst Bookwyrm Reviews

This review, like the others, is great: clear and well balanced.  Her knowledge of the genre is evident in the way she compares elements of the book with others, and the places where she puts the magnifier. She even makes recommendations of who might enjoy the book based on other titles.

Here is my review of the reviewer:

Communication: Four dot 99 stars.  Her communication skills are great. She is very clear in what she is going to do and how, and she is true to her word. We had some lil problems with the email to send the book at the beginning, but everything was sorted out.

Integrity: Five stars. Her reviews are her opinion, a very knowledgeable opinion. At the same time, she keeps the view of the reader, instead of taking the job of an editor.

Quality of reviews: Five stars. She provides very interesting insights in her reviews about who the characters are, and why they caught her eye. She also talks about the cons of the book in her view, and who might enjoy them.

 

Overall, a great reviewer. Highly recommended to seek advice. 

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cat in the fallI learn from what is around me, specially my pets...

My dog taught me that lying in the sun in autumn and taking the head out of the window are worth trying. 

My cat taught me that a pillow by the fireplace in winter takes you a long way into heaven.

My plants also taught me things... like there is nothing better than a nice summer rain to feel renewed.

 

They all taught me to put my energy in what I want, and stay there, to listen with the ears and also with the heart, to keep my head in the clouds and the bare feet on the ground, to enjoy the ride...

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When we read a piece, we filter what we receive through our own set of preferences. That includes our own sense of what is appropriate, what is acceptable, and what is good.

 When we find books that we love, things go easy. I think the problems appear when we find books we do not like. 

 Here there are several questions to ask. Are we just writing some lines about the book for us to remember what was it about and impressions? Are we reviewing for other people who have similar tastes? Are we reviewing for a general public?

 This is important, because depending on the purpose I believe we need to "man up" (or "woman up" :D) to the challenge.

For example...

I´m not into YA--with exceptions, because it bores me to death. I met one author around here and bought his book. I found it a tad predictable.

 Now, did it make it a bad book? No way! It was excellent for its market.

 So... when the time to review came, I needed to make a choice. Was I reviewing for myself, for people with similar tastes or for everyone? If I was writing for myself, I would just put "YA", and avoided a star-valuation to not trash the writer--who is not responsible of my own "peculiarities". If I was writing for people with similar tastes, I would have probably avoided reviewing it, because they would not be interested, so why bother? I decided to review for everyone, and gave it four stars in Amazon. 

Used some parameters like coherence, characters, pace and made my valuation from there. I wrote my review with the intent of closing the gap between the book and its own market, and tell those out of the market to be aware.

Every reviewer has the right to review and give the value they want to the books; of course everything we do as reviewers talk more about ourselves as of the book we are reviewing.

There are all kinds of people online, and anyone who sits to write about others has a reason to do it. It is important when reading reviews to know where people came from to write it. 

 Reviewers to avoid in my opinion: 

All wonderful: If a reviewer only puts 5 stars to everything, there could be business behind. I read with care.

Toxic: If a reviewer has mostly low stars, is a very unlucky person or is using the system for something else. It could be business, witch hunt or who-knows. Anyway, I´m not interested. 

I read 3 stars first when looking into a book. They are usually the most balanced. 

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