Thursday, May 15, 2014

Reviewer #3: Veronica Jorden from First Page, Last Page

Since becoming an author, I've met some wonderful book reviewers. These reviewers take their job seriously. Whether they love a book or hate it, they know how to maintain a respectful and professional attitude and web presence. Please welcome our third book reviewer of the month, Veronica from First Page, Last Page:

From what corner of the world do you call home, and what do you do when you’re not reading and reviewing?

At the moment, my family and I have set up shop in northern Virginia. My husband is an active duty soldier in the US Army and we have two more years until it’s time to move again. When I’m not reading and reviewing, I try to stay busy. I work for a government contractor as an executive assistant, volunteer as the marketing director with the Military Spouse Business Association and the Red, White & Blue Pages. Just recently, I took on the task of building a brand new online community for Partners in Animal Rescue. I also run a little website for indie authors called First Page Last Page and am writing my first novel on JukePop Serials. When I’m not doing any of that, I’m hanging out with my kids, watching movies, cooking, and if I’m lucky, sleeping!

Tell us a little about your blog and what sorts of books you prefer to review there?

My site is set up a little differently. I have a blog that I use to feature authors and their books, but I also have book listings and like to post my reviews there. I also post on Amazon and GoodReads.

I focus solely on small-press and independently published books. Don’t get me wrong, big house publishers put out some excellent stories, but there is something very special and unique about the stories and voices you can find in the indie community. I like all genres, but I love adventure, fantasy, romance, and dystopian fiction. I really hate to limit myself to genre, especially since so many indie authors span the bridge between multiple genres. As a general rule of thumb, if the story is good and the characters are compelling, I can read and fall in love with a book no matter the genre.

Is there any genre you won’t read?
Find it HERE! 

That’s a tough question. I’m willing to give just about anything a go. There are things that I might not seek out on my own, but as long as the author’s intent is to tell a good story, then I’m game. However, if I start
reading and feel like there is an overabundance of graphic sex and gratuitous violence that are there just for shock value and don’t do anything to show me a character’s motivation or advance a storyline, I find I lose interest, or at the very least skip over those parts.

How do you structure your reviews (ex: summary, positive, negative, conclusion)?

For me, writing a review is a lot like writing a public fan letter to the author. I try to encourage and support authors as much as I can. I like to start with something I really liked about the book, or a short summary.
I read with an eagerness to like and empathize (or dislike and root against) the characters in a book.  I think sometimes reviewers can miss the forest for the trees and lose sight of a wonderful story if all of the mechanics aren’t perfect. Reading creates very visceral reactions for me, so that’s what I like to comment on.  If the mechanics disrupt my ability to understand a story, I will make a point to comment on that as well, but gently and only with the intent of suggesting ways for the author to improve.

If you find the book you’ve read is just not your thing, how would you go about reviewing it (or not)?

This happens occasionally, so if I happen to read something that leaves me feeling a little flat, I will try to point out the things that I did like, and frame any negative feedback in the form of how it made me feel. Reviewing is so subjective, and just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean others won’t. I would hate to write something that prevented someone else from discovering what could be their new favorite book.

Can you share the opening line/paragraph from one of your favorite book reviews? 

Review of The Favorite by Franklyn Thomas
It’s amazing how much a child can change you. It changes the way you see the world, the way you plan for the future, the way you feel about yourself. And it is hard to know what kind of parent you’ll be when your own parents are defined by alcohol and murder. But when Michael Dane’s long-time girlfriend reveals an unexpected pregnancy, he is forced to reevaluate his life. And when the time comes to shed the chains of a life of crime and drugs, he doesn’t hesitate.
What’s coming up next on your review schedule?

Next up on my list is a review of the book I read out loud on our last family road trip,  Blood Tithe by Glen Soucy.  And I am getting ready to dig into the Last Moon Rising series by Dale Ibitz, with reviews to follow as soon as I am done.

Here’s a totally random question for you: Of these three celebrities (Kanye West, Steve Buscemi, & Gary Busey), who would you rather

A) Be your Siamese twin – Steve Buscemi
B) Let puke into your airsickness bag, while you hold it, Gary Busey
C) Blindfold, spray with eau-de-lioness and shove into Jimmy the Lion’s cage, who hasn’t had a mate in a realllly long time?  - I guess that leaves Kanye, though I am not sure I would wish this on anyone!

Thanks so much for stopping by! 


Veronica Jorden is a self-professed story lover. Mother of 3 and proud Army wife, she spends her days volunteering, reading writing, and dreaming about the day she can quit her day job. And baking cupcakes. Lots and lots of cupcakes.

First Page, Last Page
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  1. VJ, I'm thoroughly enjoying your story on JukePop. I'll have to check out your reviews, too.

  2. Great interview. I love the philosophy that a review is like a fan letter. So no matter what is said, it is meant in the most positive way. Thanks for that, Veronica.


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