Sunday, August 7, 2011

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The Amazing Difference Between Two Reviewers...

I got a bad review for A Gift From Home today, and while that sometimes makes me feel bad, this time is of course no exception, it also just cemented something for me. I knew this of course being a reviewer myself, but this particular review kind of drove it home; Reviews are personal opinions. A bad review doesn't mean you're a terrible writer, or that you wrote a bad book, it just means that someone else had an opinion about your book that was less than stellar. Incidentally I decided I could either get mad, or I could treat the reviewer much better than she treated me and my poor book. I wrote her a thank you note and posted it on Amazon in the comments so she would be sure to see it. What I wrote is the truth, all reviews whether good or bad help me to grow as a writer. Did it hurt to read her review, sure it did, but I refuse to return the favor and treat her the same way. After all she doesn't know me, and unlike another reviewer who gave my book a stellar review she didn't get the point of the story. And that's okay.

A Gift From Home is my first f/f romance, and I'm coming to realize something else. There are some in mainstream society that seem to consider f/f romance and sexual practices as pornography. I'm relatively certain that if this story had been about a man and a woman or maybe even two men that the review would have come out completely differently. There seems to something in the mainstream psyche that says, "Oh, two girls getting it on=porn!" Never mind that said two girls are in love, never mind that there are bad guys and a mystery to be solved, there are 4 love scenes and those make the book just dirty porn according to the reviewer on Amazon, with no plot to speak of. I suspect that some of the problem stems from some men's fascination with watching two women together. Obviously something tripped in this reviewer's mind, and I hit a nerve, which makes me wonder why she purchased the book, if f/f gay sex was offensive to her.

Here's what two different reviewers say about A Gift From Home:

Kathryn Walters (Rev. K)said:

Girl gets on bus, picked up by old school friend she doesn't recognize. Friend takes her home, declares her love, asks to have "her cherry popped" and suddenly becomes a sex machine. Meanwhile mother is arranging a forced marriage of her lesbian daughter to her employers son in exchange for a half share in his business... seriously??? Poorly written, no story line, nothing more than crude sex romp with no finese - no I'm not a prude and love a good sex scene when written well and has some context - this has none of that. Don't waste your money.

Now here's what Cherokee said at Coffee Time Romance:

Melanie never felt wanted or loved growing up. Her mother used verbal abuse every chance to make Melanie feel she was inadequate in every way, until Melanie could take no more.

Loraleigh is a PI hired to locate Melanie. She had no idea the sinister plans that lay ahead for Melanie, nor the deep emotion the two women would grow to care for each other.

It has been two years since Melanie’s mother, Magnolia, practically sent her packing, never wanting her back home again. Melanie is surprised to receive a bus ticket with a note saying, I’m sorry,’ just before Thanksgiving. Reluctantly, she returns home, hoping that her mother is ready to make amends and accept her for her lifestyle. Melanie never expected to meet Loraleigh, a girl from her past. The girls immediately hit it off, but Magnolia is still determined to change Melanie and make her find love with a man instead of a woman. When Magnolia puts her plan into action, will Melanie be able to stand up to her mother this time, or has her mother finally gotten her wish?

A Gift From Home is a page-turner. Magnolia’s actions were intense and definitely portrayed her character to the hilt. I found Melanie to have a secret strength inside that was dying to come out. With Loraleigh’s help, I believe she was able to conquer the challenges set before her. Ms. Paul instills a dynamite story about finding the right love, while forging through all the obstacles that life throws in our way. With incredible compelling characters, and canvassing Melanie, with a depth of emotions, and expressions to shower every page, this story power punches. There is a tenderness to the storyline that could really reach out and grab the heart.

Cherokee
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

See the difference? One reviewer got the point of the story, and the actual story line, and the other didn't. Like I mentioned before, it's merely a matter of personal opinion. Incidentally, I've actually bought books that have gotten bad reviews, they always make me wonder if they're as bad as the reviewer said, about 90% of the time they're not.

My main reason for posting this was that I read on another writer's blog about how upset she was that she got a bad review and I think as someone who has 14 books published it helps for another author to kind of show that it's not all bad. I wish I could remember the author, but hopefully she'll see this post.

And all you authors out there, feel free to post comments about your own experiences with reviewers.

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