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Book Reviews

I am a firm believer that all writers need to be avid readers as well. Whether you read fiction or how-to books on writing and editing, we can learn a lot just by reading!

I’m also a firm believer in leading by example, so on this page you can find my book reviews.

What do I review?

Fiction

I read and therefore review a wide variety of genres. My favourites are epic fantasy, but I also read urban paranormal, sci-fi, steampunk, and the occasional erotic novel.

The more you read, the more you learn. It follows that more genres have more to teach!

Moreover, writing book reviews helps me sort through what worked for me and what didn’t, which lets me learn more from each book.

Check out some of my favourite books this year – from a variety of genres, naturally!

Book Reviews | The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson | 2018 Favourite Fiction Book Reviews | Me Life Story by Scarlett Moffatt | 2018 Favourite Fiction Book Reviews | Prey by Liz Meldon | 2018 Favourite Fiction

Books On Writing and Editing

Books on writing and editing have this beautiful effect on me: the more I read them, the more I want to write!

You can find book reviews for theory books on CookieBreak.

Take a look at some of my favourites:

Book Reviews | The Pocket Book of Proofreading by William Critchley | 2018 Favourite Books on Writing and Editing Book Reviews | Editing Made Easy by Bruce Kaplan | 2018 Favourite Books on Writing and Editing Book Reviews | Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King | 2018 Favourite Books on Writing and Editing

If you’d prefer to browse, you can find the whole category with all book reviews here.

Or why not start with my three most recent book reviews?

Recent Book Reviews | The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson Recent Book Reviews | Me Life Story by Scarlett Moffatt Recent Book Reviews | 642 Things to Write About by The San Francisco Writers' Grotto

#amreading

Book Reviews | Current Read: Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski

Review Policy

Please note: I’m currently open to ARC reviews ONLY and closed for all other submissions.

I’m always happy to support my fellow indie writers and traditionally published authors alike. Please check the note above first to see whether I’m open for submissions.

If you’d like to send me your book for review, please read through the following points first <3

Can I submit my book for review?

If I’m open to new submissions, go ahead! Please include more in your email than ‘this is my book, please review it’. I read every email personally, but if it sounds like spam I won’t reply. Please introduce yourself and tell me a little about your book before sending me a copy 🙂

I post one review a week on Thursdays. Because of this it might take a while for your book to be reviewed on CookieBreak. During busy spells, it might take longer.

I usually post my book reviews on Amazon and Goodreads long before I post them here since I don’t have a schedule there.

Note: Amazon has blocked me from reviewing. I’ll nag their customer support team but don’t expect a miracle – Amazon review guidelines are… odd, and generally not in favour of indie authors.

Which genres are you interested in?

I read most genres, so hit me 🙂 Normally, I’m not interested in auto-biographies or fact-based non-fiction, but you’re welcome to try! Who knows, maybe your book will be the one that sways me?

Why don’t you award stars?

If you’ve been following my reviews for a while you’ll have noticed that I don’t give stars. Just about every book blogger starts or ends their reviews with a rating, which makes whether to buy a book an easy decision.

And that’s precisely why I’m not using them on CookieBreak.

One reviewer’s reason for giving a book one star might be your reason for giving it five. While all reviewers also include a full review, some readers skip to the star rating since it’s faster.

I always try to balance my reviews and tell you what I liked as well as what didn’t work for me. That way, you can come to an informed decision rather than a hasty one.

I’d like you to decide for yourself if the book sounds like something you’d enjoy rather than deciding it’s not good enough from the amount of stars I’ve given it.

What bugs me may not bug you!

About ratings elsewhere

You can’t leave book reviews on Amazon or Goodreads without attaching a star rating. Even if I could I wouldn’t, because a review with zero stars looks incomplete on Goodreads and Amazon or like I didn’t finish the book.

If you want the quick and snappy, I suggest you follow my reviews on Goodreads.

I award stars based on the following:

5* – The book has to wow me in every respect, stay with me even when I’m not reading it, and preferably leave me with a book hangover.

To earn a spot on my Forever Shelf, a book needs to leave me feeling empty once I’ve finished it.

Not every five-star review lands on my Forever Shelf, but every book on my Forever Shelf is a five-star review.

4* – I loved the book and will keep an eye out for future releases. I’m also likely to recommend it.

3* – The book was good, but didn’t quite do it for me. I enjoyed some parts but most of it was underwhelming.

2* – The premise was interesting, but there were several things that didn’t work for me. The plot might be lacking, the characters might be flat, or maybe the blurb promised a lot more than the book could deliver.

Usually, books that needed more work receive two stars or lower. If I feel that a book was published too early and was clearly rushed, this is where I am.

1* – A book needs to offend me to receive only one star. For example, if the author didn’t do their research properly and used the terms DID and Schizophrenia interchangeably, or if they romanticise domestic abuse, the book likely won’t sit well with me.

I’ve yet to read a book I dislike this much, but there’s a first time for everything.

What do your reviews include?

My reviews include the cover, a link to the Goodreads and Amazon listings, the blurb, and my honest opinion. I also include one or two quotes of sentences that stood out to me.

I always try to balance my book reviews. Books where I loved everything are rare, but not as rare as one-star reviews. So, when I tell you that I couldn’t fault it, I really mean it!

What do you look for?

Nothing specific. Every book is different, so I go into every new read with an open mind. Sequels and authors I’m already familiar with are exceptions.

The most important thing for me is whether I enjoyed the book. If I loved every second and couldn’t put it down I’m happy to let smaller mistakes slide; however, I might mention them in the review if they were recurring.

Your book will have some errors. Every book does. I won’t hold it against you.

I don’t have a checklist where I tick off character development, world building, grammar, etc. I want to enjoy the books I read, and I can’t do that if I sit here with a long checklist and red pen in hand.

I’m not grading an essay, I’m reading a novel. Enjoyment is the only thing I look for.

I’m self-published. Is that a problem?

Not at all! I’m self-published myself and know how many reviewers only accept traditionally published books. How’s a new writer supposed to get noticed?

It’s a tough business with an even tougher market. Don’t worry, you’re welcome here 🙂

However, please make sure your book has been edited properly, meaning by several beta readers and preferably by a professional editor. You may not think I’ll notice but I promise you, I’ll notice.

If I start your book and it’s obvious it hasn’t been edited I won’t finish it, because I don’t believe your book is ready.

Please don’t make the mistake of sending an early draft for review. You’re not finished. Reviewers won’t cut you any slack because you’re new to this game. They’ll rip you and your book baby a new one.

So please don’t send me or anyone a book if you haven’t edited it. Take it from me, an author and editor who’s polished many early drafts: people know the difference.

How can I get in touch?

You can contact me via any of my social media accounts. If you say hello on Facebook, please send me a private message stating clearly why you’re writing. Here’s a template you’re welcome to use:

‘Hi, I’m [your name] and I saw on your blog that you accept books for review. I write [your genre], and my new book [the title] is out on [the release date/month]. Would it be okay if I sent you a copy for review? :)’

Beats a simple ‘Hi’ any day, doesn’t it?

You can also contact me via my Get in Touch page. Please check if I accept submissions first. If you’re not sure, ask before you send me your book.