Sunday, July 17, 2016

Book Reviews: The Good, the Bad and the Funny by Betsy Ashton

I admit it. I read book reviews. I read those posted on Amazon and Goodreads for the books I write. I read reviews of books I read and review, but always after 1) I've finished the book, and 2) after I post my own review.

So it should come as no surprise that I've become a connoisseur of reviews. Not all mine come in through social media or other websites. I have a ton of "old school" readers who send emails or, gasp, snail mail.

Not long ago, I received this from a friend I've known nearly 50 years. He may be a tad partial. He's a critical reader, normally, but he went all fan-guy on me for Uncharted Territory: "I loved the first book, but this one is miles ahead. Great story line, engaging characters, a hint of suspense, and you deal with important contemporary themes without preaching. Brava." I'm still blushing--bragging too.

Posted on Amazon was this gem for Uncharted Territory: "I enjoyed the new characters here, namely, the English tutor Max hired to homeschool the children and the two pastors from different sides of the track. The desolation of the area (post-Katrina, MS) when they arrive is palpable."

Then there was the snail mail letter in which a reader apologized. "I know it took you over a year to write Mad Max Unintended Consequences, but I read it in two days. I couldn't put it down." Well now, that just fine with me.

My favorite one-star review was from a disappointed reader who thought I'd tried to jump on the Jessica Fletcher bandwagon with Mad Max and failed. Bless you, dear reader. I didn't try to be the next Jessica Fletcher. There is only one. I want to be the only Betsy Ashton with Mad Max.

I howled at this three-star review for Mad Max Unintended Consequences: After seeing  "Fury Road...I was overjoyed to learn that Mad Max's adventures continued in literary form. However, after finishing the book, I was left with a lot more questions than answers...Overall, I thought it was a well-written book, even it if took quite a departure from the films. I do hope that, if there is a sequel, Ashton will incorporate more car chase scenes and explosions."

Could this be why so many people on Twitter and Facebook want to hook up at Comic Con???


Betsy Ashton is the author of Mad Max, Unintended Consequences, and Uncharted Territory, A Mad Max Mystery, now available at Amazon and Barnes and NobleI'm really excited that the trade paper edition of Uncharted Territory was released this week. Please follow me on my website, on TwitterFacebook and Goodreads.


Jannine Gallant said...

Lessons in not giving your characters the same name as other famous characters... Or not. Hey, maybe you sell more books because of the title! Congrats on all those great reviews!

Rolynn Anderson said...

I'm here at RWA2016, and heard from a best selling author of 85 books she doesn't read reviews because it negatively affects her writing. I also heard some suspense writers explaining why they don't read suspense books by others, for fear they'll take ideas or be affected somehow. Interesting, huh? Are we that easily influenced? Good to look at your reviews with a sense of humor, Betsy!

Brenda Whiteside said...

I read reviews too, Betsy. Can't help myself!

Betsy Ashton said...

Jannine, I have more fun telling people that my Mad Max is a grandmother you don't want to cross.

Rolynn, I also read books in the genres where I write. Am I afraid of cross-over ideas? Yes. But if I don't read in the genre, I won't know what sells.

Alison Henderson said...

I always read my reviews too, Betsy, but I've never had one as funny as that last one. I'm still howling!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Reviews are kind of in that can't live with them, can't live without them category. I admit I do read mine. It's been s whisk though since I've heard from anyone via snail mail. Lucky you. Loved that last one.

Diane Burton said...

I read reviews--my own books & others. With so many free or greatly discounted books, I can't take them all. So I read the blurb, the reviews, then the sample. Usually. With reviews of my books, I keep reminding myself that you can't please everyone.

Alicia Dean said...

Ha, wow. Some interesting reviews. I also read my reviews. I don't mind negative ones if they are not snide and if the person has actually read the book. I expect negative reviews. Some people can be downright nasty though.

Leah St. James said...

Love the last one...too funny! You're far braver than I am, Betsy. An author friend told me years ago she was cautioned to never read them, and I usually don't. I do read reviews of others' books though and am always fascinated by the extremes between people who love and hate any given book. It gives me hope!