7 Questions With Book Reviewer Victoria
Victoria has always been a voracious reader and is passing that trait on to her son, who is now four. Together, they review pictures books for their blog. Victoria writes the synopsis and an evaluation of the book; T (her son) adds his own thoughts and helps stage the photos for their Instagram account.
Victoria finds time to read books for herself (she also reviews adult and YA selections) in the evenings on the couch, alongside her husband, another literature-lover.
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Traditionally published vs. self-published – you’ve had your hands and eyes on several novels from both industries. Does the quality of writing really differ?
Yes, there can be a difference in quality, though often more so in the editing than in the writing itself. I have come across spectacular stories, and I’ve found new favorite authors in the independent publishing world (I’ve even wondered why they weren’t with Tor).
I have also seen independently published books that have clearly needed another round of editing – I’m talking about typos, redundancies, and grammatical errors. In my experience, the percentage of books in need of further editing is higher among independently published work. That said, I’ve also read a number of picture books with my son where the “rhymes” don’t rhyme, the storylines are vapid, and the “facts” are inaccurate. There is a range of quality in both spheres.
Can you make a decent living out of reviewing books or is it more along the lines of a seemingly professional hobby?
I would really like to make any money reviewing books. I love literature and my dream job is something somehow related to books. For now, though, my son and I are both just enjoying incredible publications!
What would make you recommend/not recommend an author?
First, I need to acknowledge that everyone’s tastes are different. For me, rape scenes, lack of editing, and messaging that doesn’t resonate with me would make me steer clear of recommending someone’s book.
For example, partway through a hygge guide, I started to feel like the author was making assumptions about my life which were not true. This is a rarity, however, as I strive to select only books with a high level of appeal for me.
Many readers/authors would like to know the answer to this question – do you have a preference when it comes to genre?
Absolutely! Fantasy, paranormal romance, cozy mystery, historical romance, memoir – that’s what I like to read, and usually in that order. If it’s genre fiction, then it’s going to be in one of those. I’m happy in my comfort zone and not usually in the mood to step outside it.
Why should readers follow you? What should they expect from you?
My intended audience is parents and caregivers of young children; I primarily review picture books, though I am expanding into middle-grade chapter books. If you are looking for books that inform about the natural world, introduce diverse cultures, help readers navigate life’s challenges, and entertain, you can find them on my blog.
I also include adult books, primarily fantasy, historical romance, and cozy mystery. There’s a smattering of YA fantasy.
Why do you do it? How did you start book reviewing, and what kept you going?
In short, because I value good books.
The long answer is that my husband and I were not making conscious choices about what we read to my son when he was a baby and a toddler. We both hit our limit of non-rhyming rhymes, inane storylines, and error-riddled books. My journey to find enriching and enjoyable literature for my son led me to blog; once I started to see all the incredible publications (as opposed to the random selections my son made at the library and book stores), I wanted to share them with other parents who might be in the same boat that we had been.
I’ll keep going as long as I keep finding amazing books. And it certainly helps that I do this with my son. Eventually, he’ll be ready to move from picture books to chapter books, so he keeps me going as well. He is always thrilled about new books!
Did any author lash out at you or write a heartfelt thank-you note?
I have had no one lash out at me. Even a recent negative review received a polite thank you for my time. Writing that review was a challenge, as I had truly expected to enjoy the book (why else would I have wanted to review it in first place?).
My experience with independent authors and small publishing houses has been very congenial, and even warm at different points. I appreciate the time they take to acknowledge me and the time I spend on their books. A few authors have even inscribed their review copies, which stuns me and makes me feel particularly valued. I view my book blogging as an enjoyable privilege. I am humbled by the attention if an author or illustrator acknowledges me.
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And check out Lost in Amber: An Out Of This World Paranormal Romance if enjoy girl power, adventure & a toe-curling love story.
She just wanted to mope over her breakup but the universe had other plans for Zoey Mills.
Read the full blurb here.