Decoding Book Reviews

For those of you who are not familiar with how I write my reviews, this is for you:

I have finished transferring all of the book reviews from the old site to this one. Yay! The formatting is blank, but the reviews are in. I am still trying new styles with the formatting so bare with me (laugh).

I also want to give authors a heads up that I will now be mentioning whether they have included diversity in the their books or not.

Publishing of Reviews:

Thank you for letting me review your book. I prefer a real live book, but if you are sending it electronically please send in .mobi format only as I have a Kindle Paperwhite. Please send all electronic files to pmatthewscp@gmail.com. Please allow a few weeks for a review unless I am on your ARC list.

I promote the review of the book through social media outlets such as: Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest using popular hashtags. I attach Amazon links to the book in the review to allow readers the option to purchase the book in either Kindle, Paperback, or Hardcover format (one or all formats if available). I am an affiliate of Amazon.

I primarily review LGBTQ+ books, but I also receive other genres as well and review them. I love to read so I am happy to get all the free books I can get (laugh). 

Once again, I thank you for the opportunity to review your book and I hope you let me review more as I have read most of them in the library.

Tagline

I hate creating my own tagline for a book. I really hate it if I have not read the book and I am promoting it for a blitz or a tour. I really wish everyone would have a tagline (laugh).

Synopsis

I rarely write my synopsis for a book anymore and usually post one from Goodreads or one that has been given to me by the author/promoter. There are exceptions of course and the authors know who they are (laugh).

Gay Scribe Awards Promotions – (January through May 30th)

Any book that has a M/M story will usually see a “Want to be a Judge” for the Gay Scribe Awards and they are still looking for judges.

Rating (Ugh…hate this section)

The meaning of the Stars (adjusted from Goodreads as of 1 August 2019):

5 Stars =  I really liked it.

4 Stars = I liked it.

3 Stars = It was okay.

2 Stars = I did not like it.

1 Star = Do not read this book and I will list why in the end of the month reviews.

Special note here: I rarely gave five stars before 1 August 2019, I think I had only done that once in the few decades I have been reading. 

Four stars and you could consider that you knocked it out of the park and I really really liked it because I had not given a lot four stars either, but I did give enough considering the amount of books I read. 

Three stars was my norm, because I have read a lot of books and I either like it or I do not. I have given I think about a dozen of one stars and that is usually due not to the writer, but to the editor because it was edited poorly which can drive me nuts.

After a year of reviewing books, I started to notice that my honest 3 star review was seriously impacting the overall rating that author’s were receiving (even on Goodreads) because readers were not using the same system or were being overly gracious in their rating systems. I cannot say that this will encourage me to give more 5 star reviews, but instead of the usual 3 star review I will be giving out more 4 star reviews as I do not want to negatively impact an author’s overall rating because I liked a book, but did not “really like” it. 

The funny thing is I used to feel bad for authors’ who received three stars because I thought their book was just “okay”, but did not want to give them 3 stars – now I will really struggle with the 3 or 4 debate. (laugh)

Further Details:

#___Sex

#PGSex – Kissing, touching with clothes on, making out with clothes on

#PG13Sex – Detailed (or referenced) breast foreplay, referenced butt play, referenced vagina play (no explicit details), referenced sex toy play

#RatedRSex – Detailed vagina play, detailed butt play, detailed sex toy play

#XSex – Detailed explicit vagina play, detailed explicit butt play, detailed explicit sex toy play (in other words the books I really like – (laugh)).

#BDSM – Dom/sub/partner(s) relationship/play where props are used to mark the sub/partner(s).

Categories:

This section is the biggest change since the name change from Phoebe’s Rainbow World to Phoebe’s Randoms. Everything is not broken down into LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+. I hated the segregation and really wanted to get away from it. So I did. (See Featured Image for more information.)

A lot of the genres come from how Amazon lists books. Sometimes I am even surprised how books are listed and I will write a note if I disagree with how a book is listed. As the categories expand, old books may fit into the new categories, but I will not be going back to the old books to do this unless I am updating formatting.

Fiction:

This list is getting longer and longer. (laugh) This is a good thing.

Romance:

BWWM or BWWW – Black Woman/White Male or Black Woman /White Woman – on a personal note, I HATE this category label, but I have noticed it is very popular and therefore I have added it.

G!p is an abbreviation for “girl penis.” Check Lexa Luthor’s blog to learn more about the F/F version of Omegaverse and related terms like g!p and fempreg.

IR stands for Inter-racial Romance.

I/F = Intersex/Female Romance

I/M = Intersex/Male Romance

Series get listed if there are more than 10 books in the entire series.

Short Stories are listed by their word count (between 3,000 and 10,000 words).

Special Interests:

Bisexuality: This usually is checked in lesbian romances because one of the women starts the book out as never having been with a woman and having only been with men when suddenly she is attracted to this “one” woman. Hence, I check the “bisexuality” box.

NonBinary: This is checked because there is a character in the book that is nonbinary and to be aware that the pronouns “they/them” might be in use.

Featured Image

The “Featured Image” photo aptly displays whether this is a LGBTQ+ or a non-LGBTQ+ book.

The above photos have white writing, for example “Book Blitz!” is in white as is “Book Review” and “Author Tour”.

Now look at the photos below:

In the photos above the writing is in rainbow colors to indicate that the books are LGBTQ+. If a book can be broken down even further within the community you will see the following:

Alien Bride by Penelope Wood is a Polysexual Romance book (also known as Reverse Harem) and The Other Dress by Emmy Engberts’ has a main character that is Transgender.

Simple designations without segregation is my aim. If someone has a better idea, please let me know.

Posting of Reviews

Goodreads/Amazon

I post my reviews to Goodreads and Amazon on the Sunday after posting the #FridayReads social media campaign or the following four days after I publish a review on my website whichever is the latest, unless an author requests otherwise (sometimes earlier). For example, if I publish a review on Friday morning and it also gets a post as  a #FridayRead, it will not be posted on Goodreads/Amazon until Wednesday.

Author Blog Tours

I love doing author blog tours! I do ask that if an author or publicist asks me to participate that they participate also. Nothing is more frustrating than a silent author on the day of the tour. At least repost (laugh) or have the publicist repost – pretty please.

I also like to send five questions for an author interview if possible. Once I read the book, I usually send the questions right away. 

Thank you in advance for thinking of having Phoebe’s Randoms host your tour – I am honored to even be thought of. 

Tours will stay posted on the site for two months and then will be taken down unless I did a review.

Reposting of Tours and Articles

Articles: If I find that an article is informative then I will probably keep it up for a long-time. Most articles will be up for 30 days.

Tours: 2 weeks unless the original poster has taken it down.

Author Spotlight

Once an author gets 50 reviews on Phoebe’s Randoms, they get their own page!

Reviews in General

Authors may not agree with my interpretation of a review and I welcome their feedback. In some cases, I may take down the review from my website as well as Goodreads and Amazon. I may revise or I may not (especially if I did not like the book).

I ask that authors remember that a reader’s interpretation of a book is affected by their life experiences and because what they feel they put “factually” in a book, a reader may interpret a previous event or the event differently. This has happened to me with many books as I have a rather cynical and painful past and I look at things a little differently than the usual romance reader. 

I have also been sent books that I just did not connect with, I realize that other readers might connect with it and have no wish to penalize an author because I did not like a book. I usually give the book three stars and put it in my end of the month reads posting which does not get publicized. Some months there will be nothing to post and then other months such as December 2019, I had a number of books to post. It ebbs and flows.

If I do not like a book for a number of reasons, once again it gets posted at the end of the month and does not get publicized. I do not like publicizing on social media and the what not negative content. I will confess that almost no one reads the end of month reads (laugh) so no one really knows which books I hate or dislike.

Bottom line: if you are an author or a publicist and have sent me a book and did not see me promote it, before you send me an email you might want to check the end of month reads to see if the book is there.

I love books. I love stories. I love words. I thank all of you for sharing your dreams, worlds, and words with me.

Hugs to all.

Your loving fan,

Mx. Phoebe

Phoebe’s Rainbow World is now Phoebe’s Randoms as of 1 March 2020!
Established 18 December 2019