Conundrum: Should Authors Wear the ‘Reviewer’ Hat? (Part 1)

And should they do so at their author blogs?

Welcome, friends! Warmer temperatures are hinting at spring–Yay!–and we’ve sprung our clocks forward. (I’ll get over the loss of an hour’s sleep. More sun and light, please!)

So the other day fellow author and online friend Carrie Rubin referenced a blog post by social media guru Kristen Lamb. The question: should authors write reviews for books they’ve read and/or publish them on their blogs?

Of course, both articles got me thinking, enough to get into one of my long-winded comments. (The kind that has blog-post-of-my-own potential—all as I happened to be trudging through a book whose characters caught my interest, but had me tangling big-time with issues relative to the prose.)

As per Carrie Rubin’s post: “One of the things (Kristen Lamb) recommends is never writing a bad book review. In fact, Kristen suggests writers should not publish book reviews on their blogs at all: ‘“Our BRAND is AUTHOR, not ‘book reviewer.’ My opinion is we can’t do both.”’

Carrie tends to agree and ponders the notion that an author writing reviews could be a conflict of interest. She also supplied valid arguments for both sides of doing so—more so for NOT writing a bad review—with support noted for the benefit and/or need for reviews by indie authors.

I don’t disagree with Kristen Lamb on “Our BRAND is AUTHOR, not ‘book reviewer.’” At the risk of sounding full of myself (which I pray I am not), and as a reader—a.k.a., consumer-of-books—AND writer/author, I hope I bring an expanded (?) set of skills to the ‘review’ table.

In the interest of brevity, I’ll get into those a little later this week. What are your thoughts so far?

Have a great day,

Joanna

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Linking Up and a Blog-Reveal Too

Hi everyone! Hope you enjoyed the weekend and the NFL championship games. All due credit and congratulations to the Seahawks, for pulling off the improbable, but what a heartbreaker for those of us rooting for the Packers. 😦

Australian Open Tennis Championships are underway! Yay!

The reveal: I’ve been working at developing speaker workshops for the past year or so, the mainstay of which will be parenting-related. To go with it, I started a new blog/website, where I will be posting all future parenting posts (among other related topics). Promise I won’t turn down any of the love or support any of you care to show by following it and/or sharing about it. (Just sayin’! 😉 )

Linking up: Figured I’d take the opportunity to hook y’all up with some of my most loyal supporters. Check their blogs out. Bet you’ll find something you like!

Carrie Rubin: The Write Transition–today she’s got a list of books you might be interested in reading. She also blogs on many different topics, typically infusing each with her unique style of humor.

At How the Cookie Crumbles, Tess is currently taking us on a virtual trip to China via a series of posts based on her current trip. She’s also awesome at 100-word shorts.

Young adult fiction author Stacey Wilk offers her take on parenting, growing up Italian and other topics.

Accent the positive and be inspired at Lewar’s blog–my latest find.

Have a wonderful day!

Joanna

 

 

 

 

And You Worried About THE FLU?!

Promised my great online friend and blog supporter Carrie Rubin I’d put to words my thoughts on her fast-paced and very-well written debut, The Seneca Scourge. Time (or lack of it) has gotten in the way of having done so before (but at least those powerless hours sans internet after Superstorm Sandy served me long enough to get this write-up back in motion and into the blogosphere–about flippin’ time too).

Disclaimer: I am not a formal book reviewer. I am a common reader and freely posted my thoughts on this book because I wanted to and can. I was not paid by anyone in any way for doing so.

Not quite sure how I originally happened on The Write Transition (Carrie’s website/blog) but I am so glad I did! This self-described introvert has the most offbeat sense of humor and ties that gift seamlessly into almost every article she posts. She’s been Freshly Pressed  by WordPress and very humbly offered a related post in which she shared her thoughts on how she’s been FP’d a second time—by her readers and supporters. Check it out if you can: I was very inspired!

For those of you unfamiliar with Freshly Pressed: it’s the tremendous honor of having one’s blog post showcased on the WordPress website landing page. (Try to imagine the multitude of blog posts that go up daily in the WordPress world and you’ll get how amazing it is to have one’s post among a revered ten, where one’s post is as visible as it can get!) And Carrie is one of the nicest people I know to get it.

Okay, this post was supposed to be about thoughts on The Seneca Scourge, right? Just to lend this newbie author more credibility, she is a pediatrician by trade and has also worked as a public health advocate. The rest of her bio is easily viewable at her website. (Not that it doesn’t have merit to share here, but I’m trying to get to the book already!)

seneca-scourge-1-3    Carrie Rubin

Here’s the back cover copy:

Dr. Sydney McKnight, a young physician battling the deadliest influenza pandemic of all time, joins forces with Dr. Casper Jones, an odd new research virologist whose arrival coincides with the virus’s advent, and whose presence raises more questions than answers.

As scientists around the world search for an explanation for the virus’s high mortality rate, Sydney’s distrust of Casper grows, especially after she discovers him injecting an unidentified substance into her patient. Despite a heavy patient load, rebuttals from her boss, and an increasingly strained relationship with her boyfriend, Sydney is determined to learn the truth.

But what she finds will plunge her into danger and change her life forever…

Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Editor: Dave Field
Cover Artist: Harris Channing

 I’ve always been fascinated by medical ‘stuff.’ (At four I wanted to be a nurse and wound up an occupational therapist.) Medical drama has caught my interest since I was a little girl, starting with MedicalCenter, back in the day. (Yes, I seriously just dated myself, lol, but what can I say? The very handsome Chad Everett starred. ;)) I followed ER for 13 of its 14-year run. Private Practice grabbed me last year. Stands to reason I planned on enjoying Carrie Rubin’s debut just because the story is set against a hospital background. And just for fun she threw in a little sci-fi on the side to keep the mix from being well—typical, I guess might be a good word.

Sydney, the lead character, is a bit self-consumed and finds it hard to connect with others. She notices herself becoming more and more intrigued and suspicious of Casper, enough to start taking a closer look at what he’s doing while an influenza pandemic not-so-insidiously starts claiming the lives of an entire community.

The writing is fast-paced. Descriptions are fresh and show authentic medical knowledge. The sci-fi embellishment is positively brilliant! (Loved Casper’s BB—you’ll have to read to find out exactly what that is ;)) Sydney’s POV is deep and highly relatable, her self-centeredness captured through sarcasm and subtle, just-dry-enough awesome humor. The author’s voice comes through naturally, mostly through dialogue (internal and external) with nary a hint of intrusion. Exchanges between Sydney and the cast of characters become increasingly poignant—yet never melodramatic—as Sydney’s character journey unfolds and progresses, taking the reader to a bit of an offbeat ending, but one that definitely works with this story.

Enjoy the read! I know I’m looking forward to whatever this author has in store for her readers next! And if you’re itching to pick up The Seneca Scourge right now, here are some links to do so:

For Nook;

For Kindle (choice of digital or print)

Direct from the publisher!

Contact Carrie via her website (just scroll down the page a bit); follow her on Twitter and like her on Facebook!

Wishing everyone a wonderful, safe and happy weekend and New Year,

Joanna