Creating the SPFBO Reading Challenge is about more than just reading new authors and stories, but reviewing them as well. Reviewing books was something I used to do over a decade and a half ago. I’ve since lost that site and all the reviews I posted, but I remember how much I enjoyed doing it. And now that I’ve become interested in reading Indie books, I want to go the extra step and review them afterwards. But as any average book blogger will tell you, crafting a review isn’t as easy as you might think. There are a few things that need to be settled on first. Like, the rating system and the review system. I’ll outline these below (but let me preface by saying whatever I list is subject to change as I go along).

RATING SYSTEM

DNF – Did Not Finish – No matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t bring myself to finish this book. I was only able to get to XX chapter before calling it quits.

NMS – Not My Style – I finished the book. It wasn’t the kind of book I would normally pick for myself to read based on several factors. But the story kept me interested enough to get to the end.

WTR – Worth The Read – Definitely lives up to any hype you may have seen. Great characters and plot.

ASR – A Satisfying Read – I knew I’d like this book before I started reading it and I was right! It hit all my favorite points for any book to have. I’d recommend this one to friends and strangers.

TDG – Too Damn Good – If this book isn’t a Bestseller then it should be! I would love it, you would love! It is universal how amazing a read it was. This is a book I wouldn’t just recommend that you read, I would INSIST it!

REVIEW SYSTEM

PART I

Judge a Book by its Cover: I’ll tell you what I think about the cover. I won’t hold back at all. I’m not a graphic designer by any means, but I love a good cover and sometimes the cover is better than what’s inside. I hope the books I choose to read are all as good as their cover. 

The Front of the Matter: There are many parts to a book that most readers might gloss over and not bother to look at. The Front Matter (aka the stuff before the first chapter starts) can (and should) offer some stuff worth reading. I’ll let you know. 

The Back of the Matter: Like the Front Matter, but even MORE important, and probably even MORE overlooked, is what an author puts when the story you’ve read is finished. Too many readers will get to the end and stop turning the page. They’ll close the book as if it’s finished. Unless, of course, there might be a sneak preview of the next book back there. But I like to read about the author and whatever else can be found back there. 

*WARNING: Part II contains spoilers! 

PART II

Plot: I’ll take you behind the scenes and tell you EXACTLY what this story is about, or at least, what I thought it was about. Sometimes a blurb isn’t as forthcoming as we’d like.

Character(s): I’ll tell you who the Main Character (Protagonist) is, who the Villain (Antagonist) is, and one more character for good measure. I tend to find a favorite character outside of the MC and villain.

How it Starts: Does this book start out really well or does it take a while to really get going?

Dialogue/Best Line(s): I sure hope I have one or two lines I felt worth were worth remembering. If not, then that is a sure sign how my rating will go!

Memorable Scene: Was there a kick-ass battle scene? A teary-jerky emotional rollercoaster scene? An OMG scene? And don’t worry, I won’t tease and say “yes, there was one.” I’ll actually TELL YOU what the scene was, where it appears in the book and who is in the scene! I love a good spoiler, don’t you?

How it Ends: (May contain spoilers!) This for sure will contain spoilers, but if you’re like my mom, she liked watching/reading the end in order to know if it was worth watching/reading. I judge no one who does the same.

PART III

My Rating: I outlined how I intend on rating each book. I’ll give you that rating at the end, cause I want you to read my thoughts in order to understand why I gave it the rating that I did.

Weak Points: (if any) I’ll try to save what I didn’t care for in the story to this section, though I feel I may end up having already revealed them earlier on. 

Final Thoughts: If I have any parting thoughts or lessons I may have learned that I will bring with me to my own writing, I’ll certainly express them here.

REVIEW POLICY

UPDATED: 7/1/19

As I am participating in my own SPFBO Reading Challenge I won’t be accepting requests for book reviews, not that I anticipate receiving any such requests. However, after I have my sealegs under me and about a dozen or more reviews under my belt, I will certainly open up requests.

For future reference, however, this is what I’ll accept and what I’ll give a hard pass to:

Acceptable Genre(s): Fantasy (YA or Adult / Epic or Steampunk)

Unacceptable Genre(s): Romance, Paranormal

Acceptable Formats:
Traditional (Print Only)
Indie (E-Book okay, Print preferred)