As much as I might like to say that noble ambitions led me to writing my first book review, I’d only be lying to pump up my ego. The truth is I love to read, am hooked on the Internet and one day I stumbled across Midwest Book Review. I read through it and found the “Become a Reviewer” heading, clicked on it, wrote a book review and submitted it. The editor Jim Cox found it acceptable and suddenly I was a reviewer.
I sent one review a month for about five months and decided to do more, which landed me my own column, Victoria’s Bookshelf, in the Reviewers Bookwatch section of MBR.
My love of reading has given me eclectic tastes and I’m apt to read anything that captures my interest, either through title, cover or synopsis. If I come across a book that’s not to my liking, I do my best to say something good about it. After all what I like or don’t like is inconsequential and for me to trash the book would be wrong. Someone else might love it and I’d be doing them a disservice in scaring them off. And if it were my book being reviewed, I wouldn’t want a reviewer to treat me that way.
I’m still learning and trying to find ways to improve my reviews. I don’t claim to be perfect, though sometimes I’d like to be.
Being a reviewer has changed me as a writer by making me more aware of what makes a great read and what doesn’t. I enjoy the challenge of trying to do a good review and at the same time trying to help a fellow writer. I have to do that and still strive for honesty with the reader.
This August marks my third anniversary writing for Midwest Book Review and February of 2010, I can celebrate three years of having my own column. How cool is that? Well if you’re a book nut and a writer, like me, it’s awesome.
Before I go, I’d like to share my favorite review with you. It’s from my column in the Reviewer’s Bookwatch of April 2007.
Stone Butterfly by James D. Doss
Are you up for another good mystery starring Charlie Moon and his feisty Aunt Daisy? James Doss didn’t disappoint me, but then he never does. He’s an author that can tell a good yarn with the best of them.
The story begins with Daisy relating a horrific dream to Charlie. Daisy’s description of the dream is graphic and poor Charlie almost loses his appetite. (If you’re familiar with Charlie at all you know he eats a mountain of food and is always hungry. The food he eats would put most of us in the cardiac intensive care unit, but not Charlie who happens to be slender and seven feet tall.)
When the dream becomes a gruesome reality, Charlie and his aunt find themselves involved in trying to help an old friend from the past. Will they be able to help their friend, or is it already too late? Charlie puts his own life at risk to help solve the murder of an elderly man. Will he succeed or fall prey to the killer himself?
Charlie has retired from being a Ute tribal police officer and is a full-time rancher, part-time tribal investigator. He’s a good-natured fellow and finds amusement in almost everything. Daisy is a cantankerous and sly old woman. Whenever Doss does a flashback to her younger years, I always want him to tell me if she was always this way or if age, aches and pain have formed her into what she is. One is never sure of Daisy’s age, but sometimes I think she was in her little canyon in Colorado when the Spanish Conquistadors first arrived in the South West. The tribal elder is always getting herself in trouble and true to form she pushes the button in Stone Butterfly
Don’t pass up your chance to read a great mystery with many little twists and turns. I loved the book and highly recommend it to all lovers of mystery.
Other books by James Doss are: The Shaman Sings, The Shaman Laughs, The Shaman's Bones, The Shaman's Game, The Night Visitor, Grandmother Spider, White Shell Woman, Dead Soul, The Witch's Tongue, and Shadow Man.