Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY!

I'm talking about reviews! One thing every writer needs to know is that not EVERYONE will LOVE every book. It's a hard lesson.

I learned it after writing my second novel. Everyone who read Sierra, my first novel, LOVED it. I was pleasantly surprised. It was such a GOOD feeling, an all time high. I moved on and wrote my next novel, Joshua's Folly. (it will be released next, in March of 2013)

My friends and family eagerly read Joshua's Folly. But this time, the feedback was BAD. 'Not my favorite,' a few people commented. However, there were a select few who LOVED it! To this day, Joshua's Folly is the all time favorite of my mother and my daughter.

Go figure.

I was perplexed. I cried. I may have even sobbed a little.

Then I went back to work, editing and streamlining my novel.

However, I had learned an extremely valuable lesson.


I'm so glad I learned this early on. Sometimes reviews are amazing and they make me happy, floating on cloud nine for days on end. Then a 'not-so-good' review comes my way and I tend to sulk and brood about it for far too long. If I let it get to me, really get to me, it WILL affect my writing because I will lose my confidence.

A bad review does not necessarily mean that I've written a bad book. My books often receive wonderful five-star reviews. Yeah! Happiness!

This sends me a very important message. I've written a good back! People like my writing! WOW!

(Note: If I had never once received a five star review from anyone and no one ever liked any of my books, then the following would be a moot point!)

But then it happens. I get the two or three-star review from someone who did not like my novel at all. (Thank goodness I've never received a downright UGLY review.)

How does this happen? How can one person LOVE it and one person HATE it?

Good question. Thank you for asking.


It's as simple as that. Everyone has different tastes, likes, and dislikes.(Logically, we all know this. Seldom do we apply it to our everyday lives.)

And you know what, that's okay. It really is. It's a healthy perspective and one that keeps me sane as I experience the highs and lows of publishing.

As an example, I will share with you two entirely different reviews about Sierra. I love to post my reviews, but I don't post my bad reviews. Of course not! And I only post this one as an example to prove my point. I don't believe in being ungracious toward reviewers. They have the right to express their opinions. Without book reviewers, I'd be lost! Book reviewers provide a great service to authors. They provide advertisement and promotion.

That being said, here are two reviews of Sierra, one good and one bad. Sierra appealed to one person and it didn't appeal to another. (Out of courtesy to the book reviewer, I won't name who wrote the bad one.)

Three stars:

This was not what I expected with this read. With a rather light touch of the dramatic, most of the story covered a slow and meticulous story that I found less than believable. I actually grew to dislike Alyssa. I found the romance, though sweet, to be unrealistic due to the timing. Alex is a good character, both strong and sweet. Their story is heart-wrenching and sweet and sad all at the same time. Though fairly well written, I couldn't get past the disregard for the recent tragedy that Alyssa seemed to adopt. The plot took on a very raw emotional atmosphere that you don't often come across. An interesting read, but not one I prefer when it comes to sinking into a good romance.

Five stars: From Ruth Hill of My Devotional Thoughts

Let me begin by saying that any review I leave here will never do this book justice. Not since "Hunger Games" has a book so captivated me and taken me on such an emotional roller coaster! I thought I had read romances before, and books like "Jane Eyre" and "A Tale of Two Cities," I had always considered the peaks of romantic literature. Let me say this. This is the most romantic book I have ever read in my 38 years on this planet! In case you have not guessed by now, I loved this book!

When I began this book, I had no idea what I was getting into. I was horrified right off the bat, but I was so intensely drawn into the story that I savored every word on every page. Alyssa and Alex are fantastic characters, and Taylor Dean has made them truly three-dimensional. I connected with both in ways I never dreamed possible that I could connect with fictional characters. Alex gets my award for the most romantic character in a book--right alongside the Dumb as a Box of Rocks Award. No spoilers--read the book yourself.

I found myself tingling in unexpected ways and moaning (even when there were students in the room with me). More than once, I found myself crying over this story, and once I even threw the kindle down on the desk, determined to not finish it. It was too painful to read. Why? Well, let's just say that while I have not experienced anything like Alyssa did, I long for so much of what she and Alex expressed. And the book was so real to me that I found myself longing for what I don't have. Very rarely does a book ever affect me like this. I am a romantic at heart (which the majority of people would never guess), but so far, I can't find anyone who wants to share that romance with me. At least I was able to have some vicarious pleasure with this story.

Let me end by saying there is basically no profanity. No misuse of God's name--always makes me happy. And no sex before marriage. What? Really? What an amazing idea in this day and age! And I am glad the author had the decency to give the characters privacy in the bedroom. In fact, that makes it even more romantic, in my opinion. This book brought out the true romantic in me that often gets neglected.

See what I mean? Two very different reviews. The story in Sierra appealed to one, but not the other. 

This is a concept I think all writers need to learn and remember. There will be TWO star days. But, the FIVE star days come too. 

And they're the BEST!

Image courtesy of [Master isolated images] /


  1. I'm sorry, but who ever wrote the BAD review has no imagination at all. It was "A FICTION" story that was the best, sweetest story I have ever read.
    Yes Alyssa went through a very traumatic ordeal. Her worst possible nightmare coming true, the awful men who treated her so bad. All she went through is exactly why she could turn to Alex, but it was not easy. She went through pain & guilt almost beyond endurance. When Alex helped her, tended her wounds and made her feel safe again of course she felt an intense feeling for him.
    This was a very emotional, horrifying, yet dear, sweet, gentle, caring love story. It took time for her to let her feelings come through for Alex and he too had been through a bad ordeal of his own, who never thought he would ever love again, was drawn to this poor girl, hurt beyond just the physical pain.
    Drawn to the bruised, gentle, scared creature she had become at the hands of her captures who took her world away from her. To be saved by such a gentle caring man, yes I could see falling for him. She had NOTHING left. Everything she held dear had been taken, she had only Alex to keep her alive when she thought she wanted to just die. No book has ever touched me like this one did and anyone who can't use their imagination to see that it was a story, a fiction story of true love found through a sadness that was beyond anything anyone should ever have endured. It showed kindness, a lot of patience, a whole lot of healing; both physical, and even more emotional, that could never have happened without such a kind, caring, loving, gentle, man. His actions, his caring, his not taking advantage of her when he very easily could have; brought her back to the world of the living. Gave her a reason to go on and learn to love again.
    It was a wonderful sweet story that anyone who knows anything about fiction and love stories would love just as much as I did. The way Taylor wrote this story, the layout, the amazing way that she described the horror that Alyssa went through and then the way she wrote of how Alex treated her when they came to his cabin can't be faulted in ANY way. It had everything a true LOVE story with edge of your seat fear was a perfect story from the very first line to the very last word.
    There was enough of everything in this story to please everyone and anyone who could find fault with this story has not read many love stories and has no idea what fiction really is. It was from start to finish. The only problem I had with this story was that it did end. I would have kept reading even more if there had been more but Ms Taylor knew how to end this book and did it just right. A five star no doubt about it.
    I can't believe that the person who did not like it has ever read a REAL FICTION LOVE story in her life. Maybe a short story that has no detail to help her see what true FICTION really is.

    1. Wow! Linda, you are my great defender, my protector, my knight (lady) in shining armor! Thanks for your thoughts. I love the way you vehemently defend Sierra. You 'got' the book. It's my personal favorite and I love that you loved it so very much. Thank you! And thanks for being my advocate! Everyone needs their very own 'Linda' in their lives. So glad to call you a friend!