Reviewing different genres: book review



I been reviewing books for a quite a while now. In that time I have done it for companies, authors and just for myself.

Reviewing the various genres can be challenging. In fact some reviewers will only review a book in certain genres. Some, like myself, will review anything.

My biggest challenge has always been children’s book. The reason being is one of the companies I review for requires at least 300 words per review. Doing a children’s picture book that you can read in under a minute is challenging.

You have to pull all that you know as an author and reader to find the word count needed. But reviewing children’s book is fun. You are reading a different genre and age group which will help you with your reviewing skills.

Each genre has requirements that makes it fit in the genre it is in. That is what the readers are looking for when they check out the reviews for a book. So it make sense that writers who review will stick to certain genres. It is what they know.

But to me any genre still should have the same requirements. This includes plot, development of characters, time line, loop holes, research that makes sense and more. If you are reading a book that does not have the essentials to what a book should have it does not matter what genre you read it. The results will be the same.

It will be a book that fails regardless what genre it is in and what a reader reviews it.


Guest Blog: Jo Ann Mason

Book Review:

A Fool’s Tale by Nicole Galland

A Fool’s Tale is an extraordinary mix of real life history and romantic fiction set in the tumultuous world of 10th century Wales. Themes of loyalty, betrayal and survival are the driving force behind this spellbound telling of the trials and tribulations of Gwirion (Gir-EE-on), King Maelgwin’s (Mile- gwin) fool and the uncommon yet very powerful relationship between them. The two men are inseparable, bound together since childhood by extenuating circumstances, and are almost never without the other. But when the King marries young Isabel, in hopes to form an alliance with his long-standing Norman rival Roger Mortimer, that bond is tested beyond its limits. In no time Gwirion becomes caught in the middle of a perilous love triangle that puts all three lives in danger.

Isabel knew beyond a doubt that when she was allowed to marry it would be for political purposes. However, in her the back of her mind was the wish for the kind of romance she read about Chretien de Troyes’s Lancelot and the Round Table. King Maelgwin is young and handsome and for a brief moment a spark of hope for a happy marriage blossoms in her mind until she sees how much more Gwirion means to the King than she does. She struggles to fit in to the Welsh culture, which her maid servant Adele calls barbaric. Though the King consistently urges her to learn to like Gwirion the bitterness between her and the Fool grows daily. Her relationship with the King, his habit of inviting his serving girls to his chambers, Gwirion’s constant immodest and offensive foolery and her inability to produce an heir after a horrific miscarriage all take their toll on her. Until she and Gwirion are imprisoned together by one of the King’s disloyal allies.

King Maelgwin is handsome, brave and bold as a king should be. However, he is manipulative, selfish and quite often over indulgent when it comes to Gwirion. To the King Isabel is nothing more than a political tool, one he must pacify yet control to get what he needs. Most of the time he treats her like a child that he doesn’t really want but must tolerate. He encourages Gwirion to torment the Queen with his distasteful behavior. He, himself, torments her with backhanded comments about her being a Mortimer, belittling her ability to rule in his place and his nightly affairs with Madrun, one of the kitchen girls. Maelgwin is at times cold and exceedingly cruel yet at times you find yourself completely taken in by his charm.

Gwirion is an orphan and due to events that happened in their childhood he is beholding to Maelgwin for eternity and the King never ceases to remind him of this. He is an accomplished harpist which is the one good quality that Isabel allows him, in the beginning. He, along with his friend Corr, a midget, commits horrendously inappropriate pranks in public, often humiliating visiting lords, especially Isabel’s relatives. Although he comes and goes throughout the castle and the village as he pleases, he belongs to the King and there is nothing he can do in the way of living his own life without Maelgwin’s permission.

This story is a must read for historical romance lovers. The characters will make laugh and cry and become infuriated throughout the book. Ms. Galland provides you with a pronunciation guide for the Welsh language. But it won’t take long to acclimate your tongue to the names of these delightful characters.

By Jo Ann Mason


Or find me on Facebook-!/pages/Jo-Ann-Teresa-Mason-Fans/368961286452284

Book Reviewing

I have been reviewing books for about 2 years now for I think of it as art, I know what I like and what I don’t like. I will try to find something positive about the book for we all need a pat on the back. If I find the book lacking in whatever way, then tips on how to rectify will be included. However when author’s contact me to review their books, that is different for that personalize the exchange. No longer is that person just a name on a book, but someone who is a real person. One thing I will always say is “Do you want me to give what I honestly think or what you want me to think?” if it is the latter then I will not review the book.

I have come across some doozies. One book had a theme about a cockatiel who could sing over 40 songs, not just tunes. Now I have raised and bred these birds since 1998 and not once have they sang a tune using actual words. Now if the author had just mentioned this once in the book I could have moved along but every time the scene came where the bird was mentioned, this little fact was mentioned. It shows that this author had not research this small fact properly. That to me was an insult to my intelligence as a reader. The review got one less star.

A recent book I was reading was so full of grammar errors I kept having to reread some sentences. I am horrible at grammar and punctuation so I could sympathize with the author. I did not like the story and I was struggling to find anything positive to help him out. I contacted him through email and told him what I had come up with and if he really wanted me to post this. I just did not have the heart to do it. Fortunately the book was an e-book so he was able to pull it down and fix the errors that were there. Telling him was hard but I knew if this was me I would want to know regardless how it made me feel. But in the end he thanked me for being honest about what I had found.

My point is while I use to think reviewing was cut and dry, it is not. I am not going to like every book and I will not always be able to find constructive criticism. But I do try to be tactful and be as helpful as possible. Being a reviewer is more than just getting a free book. We are helping writers home in on their skills. Hopefully to the point that their book will be a successful.