Review Policy

Since I’ve been posting reviews on Cookie Break for nearly as long as Cookie Break has been active, I thought this was a wee bit overdue!

How do I review books? Where do I review them? Am I open to submissions, or do I pick the books I read myself every time?

Let’s put this into a nice, organised little list…

Can I submit my book for review?

Sure! If you have a book you’d like me to review, check the Get in Touch! page for info on whether I’m currently accepting submissions.

I post my reviews here on Thursdays; because of that it might take a while for your book (or any book) to be reviewed on Cookie Break. Reviews on Amazon and Goodreads generally appear long before the review gets posted here since I do those right away.

Which genres are you interested in?

I read most genres, so hit me 🙂 I’m not interested in auto-biographies, though, or fact-based non-fiction.

Why don’t you award stars?

If you’ve been following my reviews for a while you might have noticed a lack of stars. Just about every book blogger starts or ends their reviews with a Star Rating, and it makes whether to buy a book or not an easy decision.

That’s precisely why I’m not using them. For example, one reviewer might have had a very specific reason for only giving a book three stars or fewer, and you might not agree with those points. You might have enjoyed the book regardless. While all reviewers also include a full review, a lot of people skip their reasons and look at only the star rating since it’s much faster.

I always try to balance my reviews, and tell you what I liked as well as what I didn’t like so that you can come to an informed decision, rather than a hasty one. This way, you can decide for yourself if the book sounds like something you’d enjoy, rather than deciding that it’s not good enough from the amount of stars it’s received.

You say you don’t use Star Ratings, yet you talk about stars?

I don’t use star ratings here. When you review a book on Amazon or Goodreads you can’t do it without attaching a star rating. If you can, I wouldn’t want to because a review with zero stars looks incomplete on Goodreads and Amazon, and I’m a perfectionist. If you want the quick and snappy, I suggest you follow my reviews on Goodreads.

I award stars based on the following:

5* – Your book has to wow me in every respect, stay with me even when I’m not reading it, and preferably leave me with a book hangover. Limited amount of space on my bookshelf meant that I had to get a little more picky with what I keep, so for your book to earn a spot on my Forever Shelf it needs to leave me feeling empty when I’ve finished it.

4* – I really enjoyed your book and will keep an eye out for future releases, and am also likely to recommend it.

3* – Your book was good, but didn’t quite do it for me. I enjoyed some parts of it but couldn’t get excited by the rest. It might also have needed more editing, and/or there might have been a lot of unnecessary repetitions.

Books below three stars won’t be reviewed on my blog, since the category is called Books I Love. I will still post the review on Goodreads and Amazon.

2* – The premise was interesting, but there were several things that didn’t work for me. The plot might be lacking, your characters might be flat, or maybe your blurb was misleading.

1* – Your book would need to offend me to only receive one star. For example, if you didn’t do your research properly and used the terms DID and Schizophrenia interchangeably, or if you romanticise domestic abuse, your book won’t sit well with me. I have yet to read a book that I dislike this much, but I’m told there’s a first time for everything.

What do your reviews include?

My reviews include – in that order – the cover, a link to the Goodreads listing, the blurb, and my thoughts. I might also include quotes if a sentence or two really stood out. My thoughts are balanced, so I’ll usually tell you what I liked as well as what didn’t work for me. Books where I loved everything are rare, but not as rare as one star reviews. So, when I tell you that I couldn’t fault it, I really mean it!

What do you look for?

Nothing specific. Every book is different, so I go into every new read with an open mind – the only exception being when I read a sequel, or am already familiar with the author’s writing.

If I noticed a couple of smaller inconsistencies and grammar mistakes but loved your book, I’ll likely bump it up to the higher rating. The most important thing for me is whether I enjoyed the book. If I loved every second and couldn’t put it down I’m willing to let smaller mistakes slide; however, I will mention them in the review. Your book will have some spelling errors, because every book does. I’m prepared for that and won’t hold them against you.

I don’t have a checklist where I tick off Character Development, World Building, Grammar, and so on (shocker, I know – something I don’t have a list for). I want to enjoy the books I read, and I can’t do that so well if I sit there with a long checklist and red pen in hand. I’m not grading an essay, I’m reading a novel, and for me the most important part is my enjoyment of your book.

I go into every book with an open mind, and review it on its own terms. If I compared every book to The Name of the Wind, you might as well go home 😛

I’m self-published. Is that a problem?

Not at all! I’m self-published myself, and know how many reviewers only accept traditionally published books. How’s a newbie supposed to get noticed? It’s a tough business with an even tougher market. Don’t worry, you’re welcome here 🙂

However, please make sure that your book has been edited properly, meaning at the very least by several beta readers and preferably by a profesional editor. If I start your book and it’s obvious that it hasn’t been edited I won’t finish it, because in my opinion your book isn’t ready. Never send out your first or second draft for review. You’re not finished. Please don’t make that mistake. I won’t finish it and I won’t review it, but most people will and they won’t cut you any slack because you’re new to this game. They’ll rip you and your book baby a new one. So please don’t send me or anyone a book if you haven’t gone to the effort of editing it. Trust me, people know the difference.

How can I get in touch?

You can get in touch with me via any of my social media accounts. I don’t recommend you say hello via Facebook since I don’t use that as often and might not see you for a while.

The best way for you to get in touch would be via my Get in Touch page. Send me the blurb and the genre and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can – but check the Get in Touch! page first to make sure I accept submissions at this time.

If you want to send me an ARC of your book, let me know when the release date is so I can have my review ready by then.

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I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

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