Monday, March 03, 2014

Interview with a Book Reviewer! Meet Honeysuckle of Long and Short Reviews

All authors love to get great, but honest reviews. Readers want to know – without too much being given away – a little about a book before they invest. One of the best reviewers in the business is Honeysuckle who reviews for Long and Short Reviews. Her well-crafted, thoughtful reviews are known for their sincerity and insight. Count me among her author followers. (She awarded my More Than a Mistress the coveted Best Book.)

Meet Honeysuckle honeysuckle

1. How did you get started as a reviewer? How long have you been a reviewer? For whom do you review?
I was encouraged by a good friend of mine to consider becoming a reviewer. She knew I loved to read and was interested in eventually writing and thought this would be a good way to practice writing while being exposed to a lot of different writing styles as well as publishers. I’ve been reviewing for Long and Short Reviews for 4 years now and have written over two hundred reviews.

2. What are the perks to being a reviewer?
Two words: FREE BOOKS!!! For someone like me who loves to read this is my crack and LASR is my supplier.

3. What do you look for in a book when you review it?
I want to be able to crawl inside the characters’ heads and understand their motivations. I want characters who I can love when they’re lovable or hate when they’ve past the point of being redeemed. I can handle a HFN (happy for now) but prefer a HEA (happily ever after). I want to feel the tension building between the hero and heroine but I don’t want to be put on an emotional rollercoaster that rivals The Ninja at Six Flags. I need to know that there is more to their attraction than simple lust and angst.

4. You are known for your positive, well-written reviews. What do you do if you get a book that’s not that great?
I have one of two options and a snarky negative review is NEVER on the table. I first try to finish the book, taking note of what is good about it that kept me reading. Did I like the main characters or was there even a side character I looked for? Was the plot interesting and I wanted to see how it played out? If I can finish it, I can write a review for it. On the rare occasions that I find a book that just doesn’t connect with me, LASR gives us the option to return the book to the database and give another reviewer the chance to try it out. I’ve probably only returned half a dozen books in the four years I’ve been reviewing and I know for a fact at least half of those were chosen to be reviewed by another ‘flower’.
5. What makes a book a 5 star or Best Book read?
Several things but one very important characteristic is a cleanly edited book. Nothing drives me more crazy than to pick up a book that sounds interesting and has good character chemistry and dialogue but there are so many distracting errors in the grammar that I can’t move past them. I line edit and beta read for several authors and it’s ingrained in my brain to look for errors. A 5 star or Best Book is going to be one that grabs you from the opening sentence and carries you to the end. It’s a book I can’t put down and one that I think about even after the last page. It’s one that I tell my friends about because I want them to be swept up like I was. I want to fall in love right along with the characters and feel what they feel. The writing has to be vivid and descriptive enough to put me into the setting. This is a book I would want to read again later to see if I missed anything important.
6. Do you have a favorite among the books you’ve reviewed?
Oh heavens yes, lots! I’ll try to narrow it down to a few, though. I have a diverse reading pallet. One YA Anthology I really enjoyed is The First Time by Jessica Verday. I was able to meet and be exposed to a lot of new YA authors and sample their writing style and voice. The premise of the anthology is each writer took the theme of ‘the first time I…’ and scripted a story around it. I laughed, cried and sighed by way through something like 20 or 25 short stories. One of my favorite non-erotic romance series was Stephanie Laurens Cynster sisters. She writes a fantastic feisty and fiery historical heroine. In the erotic category I tend to stay within a group of favorite writers and sample new writers when I come across one that really grabs my attention. My go-to’s are Heather Rainier, Sophie Oak/Lexi Blake, Cara Covington, Naima Simone, Samantha Wayland, and Debra Glass. Yeah, I admit I’m a fangirl of your paranormal and historicals.

7. What should an author do if they’d like to get a review from you?
We do get a lot of books directly from the publishers but if an author wanted to upload their own book into the database that’s an option as well. We have a database form for erotic books: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFhLbVBSZV8yeDJWX3JoS1JlOW11dlE6MQ
And one for everything else:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGpFcGwzRnpfd3Vwb1VzQlRJdnhnOHc6MQ
8. How can an avid reader become a reviewer? What advice would you give a prospective reviewer?
Readers who might be interested in joining the LASR team should apply from the blog site at www.longandshortreviews.com .
If you love to read and enjoy recommending books, why not do it for FREE books. I love reviewing for LASR because the admins are available and helpful. All of the reviews go through an editing to process to catch grammar errors and be sure they are informative as opposed to simply being a synopsis of the book. Isn’t that what the blurb is for? We don’t write snark or purely negative reviews but we don’t love and gush over every book either. Because each review goes through an editing process a reader doesn’t have to be a professional writer to write reviews. We have a lovely group of ladies on the blog and enjoy interacting with one another even when it has nothing to do with books or reviewing.
9. How can readers and authors connect with you on the web?
I have a Facebook page as Honeysuckle Reviews. I enjoy talking with other people who love books and reading romance as much as I do. Thank you for having me here today.

6 comments:

Long and Short Reviews said...

What fun to see Honeysuckle here! She definitely a great reviewer, and it's always nice to see someone who works as hard as she does recognized for that work. Thanks! I'm off to spread the word :-)

Long and Short Reviews said...

... she *is* definitely a good reviewer ...

And there's proof positive why everyone needs an editor!

Astilbe said...

Nice job, Honeysuckle! I always enjoy reading your reviews.

Meda White said...

Great interview. I saw several familiar names in her list of favorites. Thanks for sharing.

Ali Hubbard said...

Thanks you for taking the time to share with us!!

Jillian said...

Loved the post. Thanks for sharing!