Grab the Lapels was created in 2013. On this site, you can find Book Reviews about works written by people who identify as women (she/her) or nonbianry (they/them). You’ll also find interviews under Meet the Writer, which includes any kind of writing: fiction, memoir, poetry, blogging, journalism, you name it! Want to participate? Contact me! Not all of these authors are published, so you’ll get a variety of insight. My name is Melanie, and I’m a former adjunct professor who taught composition, creative writing, and fiction. Currently, I’m an adult student in an ASL interpreter training program (more here about that), so you’ll read lots about D/deaf and hard-of-hearing folks on my blog. Please see the FAQ for answers about review requests and why there are no works here by people who identify as men.
I’ve earned a bachelors in English, a masters in English/Creative Writing, and an MFA at the University of Notre Dame in Fiction. I’ve been reviewing for a while, and at a steady clip in a variety of venues.
As a guest reviewer at other venues, I often chose the books I would read and review from a queue, but my choices were frequently limited to books by men, who are published, reviewing books, and having their books reviewed more frequently than women and nonbinary people (check out the skewed ratio). There’s nothing wrong with reviewing a great book by a man, but so many women (GTL is trans- and nonbinary-inclusive) are underrepresented or struggle to find reviewers willing to look at their work.
I take reviewing seriously and will provide reviews that include an overall decision of the value of the book, criteria for what made the book strong or weak, and evidence for the criteria. Sometimes I subtly analyze themes in addition to reviewing. None of my reviews are a simple “I like/didn’t like” a book because I could/could not agree with or relate to the characters. As a result, my reviews tend to be longer.
Still Curious? Take a behind the scenes look at Grab the Lapels in my interviews with the following venues: