Bad Reviews. We’ve all had them. Well, maybe you haven’t, but work with me here.
I received a bad review over the weekend, but I’m not sure what to make of it. The reviewer starts with this statement:
Okay, so I'm suffering through a major bronchial infection, doped up on five different meds including a narcotic cough suppressant. My world is a pretty hazy place right now.
STOP. So what are you thinking right now? Yeah. I agree. Maybe she should have taken a week off work. Reviewers and critics can ruin people’s careers and businesses, but what do I know. The review continued:
Could this be the reason that I found Caskets and Corruption inoffensive, and maybe even somewhat appealing?
What? So what’s your assessment of that last line? Inoffensive means not objectionable. Somewhat appealing means she might not have loved it but may have liked it.
Then this line:
What a strange book.
Well, not looking too good. Everybody is entitled to their opinion and this is not my first negative critique. I write sweet romance with comedy, suspense…and dogs! That’s what makes my books different, unusual…strange? Every contest I’ve entered under the category of romantic suspense has rejected my books as inappropriate. Romantic suspense is supposed to be serious—special ops, CSI, police, murder, crime. Yeah, you need to have some of that in order to have intrigue, but that’s not what I like to focus on. I like to focus on character and relationship development. The reviewer continued with a plot summation and then this:
There are a lot of amusing moments like these throughout the book, and I appreciated the author's zany sense of humor.
There were unfortunately a number of things I didn't like about the book. Number one on the list of things that made me crazy was - why didn't Phillip just call the MPs and tell them to come get the body and the drugs? They could have even gone to the civilian police. Instead Phillip planned to take Lizzie with him to a convention of funeral directors in another city, to get help there. Why? Why? Why? Maybe I was too high to get it.
Well, I did explain that in the book. The bad guy had a gun, he wouldn’t let Phillip out of his site, Lizzie wanted to preserve the evidence before the bad guy took it away, and so they ran. Phillip didn’t plan on taking Lizzie with him to the convention. They needed away to get the evidence to Dover Air Force Base and that was near where the convention was held. Phillip didn’t want Lizzie in danger and left her in Denver. They had a major drug cartel after them and they couldn’t use credit cards, cell phones or anything else traceable. They also had the civilian police after them because they’d stolen a vehicle and attacked an officer. I’d hoped that I’d explained all of that well, but sometimes it just doesn’t get through.
I guess her other objection to the book bothered me the most. Here it is:
Another item on the negative list is Phillip's choice of attire. He wears turtlenecks all the time, due to scarring. Understandable - unless it's hot and he wears a short sleeve knit turtleneck. Visions of dickies running through my head didn't make Phillip a very attractive hero.
I thought this was the most touching thing in the book. Phillip was injured in a fire trying to save his father and his dog. This is the scene where Lizzie finds out why Phillip has closed himself off from love. She is pretending to be a massage therapist to avoid capture by the drug cartel:
Lizzie worked her way up to his neck. Her hand touched his scar and gently brushed over it. Without thinking, he rolled to his side and fearfully grasped her wrist to stop her. Her gaze roved over his scarred, burned torso and shoulder. He looked away. He couldn’t stand to see the disgust or pity which would surface at any moment.
He reached for the blanket, but she pushed him to his back and tenderly began to massage his chest and shoulders.
“This?” she asked.
A soft chuckle escaped her. “This is what turned you as cold as a corpse against life and being happy? Made you alienate yourself from those who care about you?”
A laugh? Sheer shock stunned him. He’d never suspected a chuckle from the first woman, or any woman, who saw his hideous flesh. He’d guarded himself so carefully so as not to be hurt. He’d always thought the burns would repulse any woman he met. How could this be? He’d pictured this moment in his mind a million times. He’d been guarding himself against the pain and rejection for two years.
He turned and found tenderness softening her expression.
“Phillip, did this happen the day your father died?”
He couldn’t respond. Her words and touch rendered him speechless.
“You tried to save him, didn’t you? Don’t you see? This is a badge of honor, like a medal pinned on your chest. You should be proud. You shouldn’t hide yourself away and stop people from getting close to you. It’s so admirable, what you did.” She leaned down and kissed the burn across his chest.
What are you thinking? Was this scene touching to you? At the end of the book, Phillip isn’t wearing the turtlenecks anymore. I thought it was rather revealing of his character.
Anyway, the reviewer ends with this statement:
I find I can't recommend the book…
Well, chew on that for a while and then tell me what you thought of this review. Was it good? Was it bad? Should it destroy my career? Should I send her another one of my books to review? Should I take up golf? Let me hear from you. I'm still here in the meantime.
Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Comedy, Suspense...and dogs!
Fly into a good book today at: www.dragonflyromance.com