I am an instant gratification book buyer, I admit it. If I see a book that looks interesting, I buy it. I may not read it for a year, but I have it on my bookshelf. As an indie author, I review other authors to give back to the community, and to see what kind of books are out there. I try not to bash anyone's book, so I only review books where I can give helpful critiques. I don't review the books where I want to say, "WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING!" Odds are, the advice will be disregarded by the author. I try to be helpful, not negative. That's my personal choice. Regardless, I will review most of the books that I read.
What's on my bookshelf? Romance, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Erotica, and Paranormal Romance. Did I mention Paranormal Romance? A number of authors have politely requested that I review their book. Typically, if there isn't a romance somewhere, I will decline it. I know my limitations. I know what I like to read. Yes, I do go outside my genre when I find something interesting. The Scott Wolfe series by SL Shelton definitely caught my attention. Sadly, I have overloaded my reading list and can't always get back to a series when I should, but it does give me a broader range of authors to read.
What will get my attention as a reader or a reviewer? Well, say the word werewolf or vampire and my head will turn. I won't lie. I won't apologize for it. It took me 35 years to figure out what kind of books I enjoy reading. I should have gotten the hint when I read Dracula in two days (when it normally took me over a week to read shorter books) and loved it. Unfortunately, Urban Fantasy wasn't around, or wasn't on high school reading lists in 1991. Romances are fine as along as I can connect to the characters, but throw a magical or supernatural creature into the mix and I will One-Click the heck out of it.
As an author, I'm always curious to see what types of keywords will drawn in the kind of reader that will relate to my books. I'm also curious to see who doesn't like my books and check out what genres are listed on their books lists. One reader stood out to me above all the rest. I received the dreaded 1 star review on Goodreads. It happens to everyone eventually. Regardless, I looked at his other reviews and he primarily had 1-3 stars on all the books on his list. There was one 4 star review and one 5 star review, but out of a large number of read books, most were 1 and 2 stars. I can't understand this. Either he hates the world, or he is reading the wrong genre. I can't understand how every book could disappoint someone. I think about this a lot when I write my own reviews. I try to find the good in most books and movies, but for someone to go through life hating every book is just odd. Why bother reading? I went back to my original theory and decided that he hadn't found a genre that he enjoyed.
Ask me to read Tom Sawyer and I will say no (yes, I read it in school). Ask me to read The House of the Seven Gables and I will say no (yes, I had an awful experience reading this in class.) Ask me to read anything by Henry James and I will throw something sharp at you. I'm an English Major and I have read the classics. I still don't like them! Know what you like to read. Trying different genres until it clicks for you. Don't read something just because everyone else is reading it.
So what is on my reading list? I have mostly indie authors on my list. Some authors I met online and decided to give their books a try, while others posted an interesting teaser that caught my interest. It doesn't matter how I found them, but I'm willing to give them the time to impress me. Not all the books end up being good, but I have found a number of gems. Here is a small snippet from my list of books on my Kindle:
A Mirror Among Shattered Glass, the Supernatural London Underground series, by Romarin Demetri
Five Coffees, by Cathy Jackson
The Portal, by Isabel Brann
Summer's Destiny, by Ariel Marie
Phantom Pleasure, by Sapphire Stilletto
Unclaimed, by Laurie Wetzel
Into the Darkness, by Katie Reus
Vampire Shift, by Tim O'Rourke
The Hobgoblin Queen - Tales of Dovewood series, by Anna B. Madrise
I wish I had more time to read, but my days are split between work, kids, and writing my books and blog posts. In the few minutes that I can spare, I dedicate my time to reading amazing independent authors. I love promoting authors that I feel have the talent and dedication to be successful in this industry. I give them a lot of credit since I know how hard it is to call yourself an author.