Val Reads ~ Love Comes Later

lovecomeslater

This sweet romance gave the term contemporary a whole new meaning for me.

Never would I have imagined arranged marriages and separate rooms for men and women in a modern romance and yet, Love Comes Later encompasses just that. This is truly a story of love conquering all. Despite differences in culture and religion, Abdulla and Sangita overcome major obstacles in order to remain together.

Ms. Ranjakumar delivers well-developed characters and a cultural viewpoint that is amazing. I was not only entertained and in love with the characters, but in love with the history as well.

I hope you’ll stop by tomorrow to learn a little more about this wonderful author and her work.

~Val

Reviews and Ratings: From the Glorious to the Inglorious

fotolia_31456254_s_banner.jpgBefore getting my e-reader, I didn’t notice book reviews. I would wander the aisles of a bookstore and choose a cover that interested me, read a few pages and make a decision. Or I would pick up a recommendation from a friend or find the latest from a favorite author. Sometimes, I got something I liked and sometimes I didn’t. No reviews needed.

Then electronic reading came into my life and wow! Reviews all over the place. I started reading them. Some were glowing recommendations and some were brutal bashings. I had to make a decision on whether or not people I didn’t know were qualified to recommend a book to me. Most of the time – not in the least.

But I keep reading the reviews. And in the defense of the reader reviewers, some of them have a pretty good rating record and give relevant feedback on plot, character development and editing issues. Some of them just seem to want to slam someone with a two-star or one-star for no other reason than he or she can. The same goes for the five and four star reviews of books that truly don’t deserve it!

So what’s a reader to do? For me I’ve learned to read reviews with a critical eye and base my decisions on trying out a new author on a consensus of reviews.

Will I read or won’t I read based on nothing else? It just depends on my mood.

Now as a new writer myself, the question was whether or not to read reviews of my own work.

I did it. I couldn’t help it.

Some were good and some were bad. And some were the best! I’ve gotten critical reviews (I’m talking some two stars) that gave real feedback and I’ve actually started to work specifically on those comments.  Some of my critical reviews stated that they wish a short story was longer, for those – unfortunately, making it longer would have been an injustice to the story as I envisioned it. Those things I won’t change.

Then there were those that left me feeling really bad. According to those reviews, there was nothing salvageable in the work and I should probably never go near pen and paper again. (Okay that’s not a direct quote, but I get the feeling that was the intent.)

So in order to shore up my broken writing spirit, I looked at those reviews again with my critical reading eye and for those low ratings without content. I saw that there was no content. Simply a bashing because he or she could give me one.

For the readers out there, I hope you’ll take a consensus of ratings and reviews before deciding not to take a chance on a new writer. You may be surprised as I have been. And for the writers out there, think of the one and two star reviews as the licks we must take on our rise to the top of the bestseller list.

Happy Reading and Writing,

~Val

First Review of In The Moment

I’ve had my first ever review and I am so grateful that she didn’t hate it.

I suffer from writer’s anxiety and question myself constantly about why I would ever have written what I have written.  Though I don’t normally take medications for anything, I would gladly welcome whatever pill or shot was available to overcome the feeling that I shouldn’t have published that.

Here is her review of In The Moment:

The overall feel is gently southern and elegantly hot. While some of the scene transitions are a bit awkward, the story is sweet and the characters are well-developed. A nice, fun read!

This is a review that actually helps me as a writer. In my current work, I will continue to focus on character development and pay special attention to the transitions between scenes.  As I’ve written before, going from writing articles which require concise statements with little to no embellishments to works of fiction meant to entice the reader has been a difficult transition for me.

One thing that made me smile about the review was the phrasing – gently southern. Luckily, I have friends from all over the country and have learned that there are specific interactions that take place in Southern culture that are foreign to those outside of our culture. For example, the South is a place where “Bless her heart” can at times be translated to “F@ck that b$tch and her mama!”

This being said, when Amber refuses to let Kevin shower with her after a night where he has touched and licked every inch of her body is perfectly understandable. After all, Amber is a Southern lady at heart and holds her bathing as a solitary experience. This is her time to prepare herself for her lover. There is a mystery that needs to be maintained.

A special thanks to Fierce Dolan who reviewed In The Moment!