Book Review Policy

Updated July 8, 2019

I have enjoyed reviewing so many books over the last several years, and the connections I’ve made with other authors has been lovely. Unfortunately, I think it’s time for me to make some changes. 

When I started this, I never imagined the number of books I would be offered to review. I thought this was just going to be something I did for fun for books I would have read anyway. Since then, I have read outside my typical genres and been opened up to writers I would have never known about otherwise. That’s pretty amazing.

But things change. Life changes. Our priorities change. 

Reviewing is still something I enjoy doing, but over the last several months, it has become more of an obligation than anything else. My TBR has grown so massive that just thinking about it can make me feel anxious. Like anyone else, I would like to read books of my choosing sometimes, but I’ve felt guilty every time I’ve made that choice. That’s absolutely an unnecessary stress in my life. Reading is how I decompress. It’s my primary form of self-care. It’s not supposed to make me feel bad.

As a chronically ill person, I only have so much energy to use each day (and that amount changes from day-to-day). I’m also an author, and I’ve found that too often lately, I have had to take time and energy away from my work to write reviews. This makes it take much longer than it should for me to get my work ready for the world.

For a long time, I didn’t mind sacrificing my own work to help other authors in their writing journeys but, over time, the negatives have outweighed the positives. 

I don’t get paid to write reviews. I do it because I like helping out the community. I don’t write short, generic reviews. I put a lot of thought and work into them. Some of my reviews are thousands of words long! Too often, though, I feel like I’m putting out more than I receive. I have reviewed hundreds of books. I’ve reached out to just as many reviewers regarding my work and have gotten less than a handful of reviews in return.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think this needs to be tit-for-tat. I don’t expect the authors I review for to return the favor, but it would sure be nice if I felt like other people gave my work the same time and attention I give to theirs. 

Also, I am tired of being hounded by authors about when their review will go live. I wish more authors gave the same respect to the work of other authors/reviewers as they expect of their own. Yes, your book is special and important, but so is every other author’s work. Being messaged over and over is exhausting, and I got to the point where I dreaded checking my email. Reviewers offer this service for free. We have lives outside of reading and reviewing. Besides, no one has to read and review any book. Personally, I would rather not review at all rather than leave a bad one because I know how difficult and emotionally-charged it is to write a book.

Mostly, though, I just feel like it’s time to move on. I want to read books because I want to, not because I’m obligated to. I want to feel like I’m getting some kind of return on my investment. It’s simply time for me to focus my limited energy in things that don’t make me feel only half-fulfilled. 

The last two years have been extremely difficult for me. I’ve been sicker than I think I’ve ever been in my whole life as an HIV+ person. I’ve had some real, crushing heartbreaks. I need to surround myself with things that make me feel joy, not extra stress.

From now until I decide differently, I will only take review requests from authors I have reviewed for in the past. I will not be accepting new-to-me authors. If your book is on my TBR, I will do my best to get to it, and when I do, I will contact you about it. 

I don’t plan to review every book I read for pleasure anymore, either. If it’s on my heart to leave a review, I will. Otherwise, I’m going to read for my joy and benefit.

I’m sorry to anyone who has anticipated sending me a review request (I’ve had them turned off for a while in an effort to catch up on my TBR). I may come back to this one day; I don’t know. For now, though, this is what I need to do, and I hope you can respect that.

My reviews are as spoiler-free as possible (you can read through my reviews for examples HERE), and while I use the standard star ratings for simplification’s sake, the stars are based on how much I enjoyed a story and the way it was written. Pretty simple; I don’t think I need to explain that too much. I try to explain what I like and dislike about the books in the actual review itself and not rely too much on the star ratings; those are really only there because Goodreads/Amazon require them, as far as I’m concerned. For me, the reviews are more about what I have to say about the writing, plot, characters, etc.

I try to be as thorough as I can in my reviews because, as an author, I know how valuable it is to know what readers think. And I try not to be too critical or too positive, but to give an all-around opinion on the author’s work because that’s what I appreciate when it comes to my own work.

I prefer Kindle format (.mobi) copies as they are cheaper for authors and easiest for me to read, but I accept paperbacks, too.

Most books I read and review here on this blog I have purchased myself. In every review, I will always state whether or not I have purchased the book myself either through Kindle Unlimited or otherwise, and in the cases in which I have been given the book for free by the author/publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review, it will be clearly stated as well. All of my reviews are my own opinions, pure and honest, without the influence of the authors or anyone else.