Over the next couple weeks you'll get to meet some of the HEA Reviewers. Find out what makes them tick, and what they look for in a good book.
Our Interview Coordinator, Angelique, interviewed Denise today.
Reviewer Interview with Denise
How did you get started reviewing books? What keeps you going?
I haven’t been reviewing for HEA very long, but I have conducted informal reviews on various sites since first cracking open a book. Thus far with HEA, I mainly enjoy the range of what I receive. It’s definitely broadening my literary horizons.
What are your favorite romance genres? Favorite authors?
I love paranormal, contemporary, suspense, and the occasional historical. I’ll read pretty much anything, though, as long as the story is good and the characters are believable. My favorite authors—the ones I’ll put at the top of my TBR list—are Shannon McKenna, Lynsay Sands, J.A. Saare, and Katie MacAlister.
How important are the book cover and blurb in choosing what you are going to review?
A: Well, it is extraordinarily important not to choose a book by its cover. There are some presses out there that excel at crafting elegant covers for their releases, whereas others leave much to be desired. Covers can be very misleading. I tend to base my selections on the blurbs or synopses; if the book sounds compelling or appeals to my interests, I select it.
Do you have any preferences when it comes to the characters or relationships in the books you review? (ex. Hetero couple, strong heroine, alpha male, ménage, etc.)
I’ve read a few ménage books, but they typically aren’t for me; while I certainly take no issue with m/m or f/f romance, I’m pretty old fashioned and typically stick to a good m/f romance. I like a steady build-up between the characters, and typically prefer the hero and the heroine to be strong-willed and independent. I also like stories in which the leads clash—either professionally or personally—yet find themselves unable to resist the tension mounting between them.
What is something that really catches your attention when you are reading, good or bad?
If the dialogue is strong, the characters are well-rounded and believable, and the writing is fluid, I’m hooked. At the same time, forced dialogue and sloppy transitions really pull me out of a story. I’m looking to not be distracted while reading, and a good book will ensnare me into the author’s world. A bad book will keep forcing me out of the world to the point where the fight back in no longer seems worth it. If I keep noticing errors or stumble over awkward wording, that’s not the best sign.
What, in your opinion, makes a book a Recommended Read?
There are certain books I get “stuck in my head” like a song; I keep revisiting it, thinking about it, dwelling on the characters and wishing there had been more after the final page. If a writer’s characters and story stick with me, it’s definitely one I’d recommend. These are typically books that likewise excel at dialogue, prose, characterization, and world-building.
When you are not reviewing romance novels, what else are you up to?
I’m a writer by trade, so when I’m not reading or reviewing, I’m either outlining a new project or working on a work-in-progress.
You can find all of Denise's reviews in the Reviewer Search Menu on the sidebar.
Feel free to leave your questions or comments for Denise.