Originally Posted at Bibliophile's Retreat by Melissa Meeks
All Right I'm playing a bit of catch-up on this one. Been wanting to participate since Amy started this about a month ago and never got around to it so today I'm posting all my answers since she started it. Each date is a link back to that day's question post with the links from everyone that answered it. I'll try and get my link added to each one after I post this but will be adding it first to the current week link list. Also in future provided I can keep up each week, the logo will be the link to that week's post on Amy's blog. This week it is unlinked since the dates are the linkbacks.
~Yes I receive review copies of both Christian and GM books. All my reviews are honest and if I can't wholeheartedly recommend a book I will say why. If I don't like a book I try to, and rarely is this impossible, focus on what I did like or some good points as well as who might find it to their tastes or I do what I refer to as a teaser - even some of my favorite books and most enthusiastic reviews include teasers but a true teaser without other content or any sort of overt recommendation from me serves to present the book and get readers attention when I don't know what to say and I know that my feelings about the book are based solely on opinion and not the merit of the writing and story. It's hard to really say who my first commitment after God is to in reviewing. He of course comes first but staying true to myself and providing a glimpse of the book for readers that allows them to make an informed decision in their own reading or book-buying is most important I think. While I don't like hurting feelings, so much of reviewing is opinion that I know people are bound to disagree with me and some authors are more defensive about what they perceive as a bad review than others. Sometimes I focus on underlying themes or lessons in the books and others I don't in these cases it is more what speaks to me in the book than anything else that seems to come out. In some books these things jump out at me and others they don't so I don't really go into it. Interestingly enough some of the lessons I see come from GM books just as much as from the CF I read. I do try to include comments on how I perceive the quality of the writing, characters and story but don't necessarily focus solely on that. As for bad reviews and bad expereince with authors yes I've had one author get very defensive on me when I "picked" on a pet peeve I have about TMI. Excessive, unnecessary detail that bogs the story down and I was nice enough not to come right out and say that the content was inappropriate in a "christian" novel although IMO it was. This however was the only negative response I've had from an author whose work I reviewed and not the only review I've written that was not raving over the book. In most cases the author is either very gracious and appreciative of my time and effort regardless of my opinion or I never hear from anyone in regards to the review.
~I was an avid reader from the time I knew what a book was so they never weren't a part of my life. The first CF books I remember reading are Brenda Wilbee's Sweetbriar Series, Janette Oke, Grace Livingston Hill and the Mandie books. At the time they all appealed to me on one level or another although I have since found other books that I feel are better written than JO and GLH. I could probably still reread The Sweetbriar series and the Mandie books and find them appealing though. Most anything I read hasn't turned me away from reading in general though it may steer me in another direction after realizing it really isn't my thing.
~In the last year to year and a half there are a few characters that have truly stuck with me so I can't really name just one. I would have to say that Dallan, Kwaku, Shona, Kitty, John, Lany and Angus from Time Masters Book One: The Call by Geralyn Beauchamp fall into this category as do Faith and Collin from A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman. Shona, Dallan, Lany and Faith are all characters I really identified with in one way or another. John, Angus, Kwaku, Kitty and Collin were just "memorable" characters.
~The best CF horror/suspense I've read would have to be a toss-up between Three by Ted Dekker, Beyond the Reflection's Edge by Bryan Davis and Books 1&2 of the Dreamhouse Kings Series by Robert Liparulo. Personally I'm more of a cozy mystery reader than the thriller/suspense type books because of those best of I named above only Bryan's book didn't keep me up afterwards dreading nightmares if I slept. Now granted I know these are good books when they do that but poor me can only take a few nights without sleep at a time and far between at that. I'd also recommend those previous books to someone wanting to explore the genres. As to one I want to read well since I was so engrossed in the characters in BTRE I want to read the sequel Eternity's Edge.
~ I read and review Christian fiction because I can be pretty sure of what I'll be getting in terms of content (most of the time) and it encourages me in my own faith journey to read about others who are struggling with similar things even if their situation is different from mine. I do also read general market books but usually they are either authors I know and therefore have a good sense that content will not be an issue or they come recommended by those who know that I am picky about content in my reading as well as quality of writing.