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 review more frequently than women (check out the skewed ratio). There’s nothing wrong with reviewing a great book by a man, but so many women (I’m trans inclusive) are underrepresented or struggle to find reviewers willing to look at their work. Also, the main characters of books written by men, in my experience, are men. I want to see diversity! I want to see women presented as living, breathing characters who are the stars of their own stories.
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 interview with Lectito.