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New format for Amazon reviews?

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 9581
Joined: August 2008
Location: Seattle, WA

Post by Misfit » Sat March 28th, 2015, 5:46 pm

I haven't had a chance to post a book review to Amazon since these changes, but it does look promising.

Author's notes are so important. Except for Weir and PG who dance around the whole point of writing them :(
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3562
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Sat March 28th, 2015, 6:03 pm

I have a lot on my plate, so I don't usually stop to write reviews. Amazon has tried to get around this by always asking me to assign stars after I finish a book on the kindle.
I object to that because it is too simplistic for me. I have opinions on the plot, the writing style, the characterization, the historicity, and so forth. And I don't want to just put in a broad-brush rating and be misinterpreted.

By adding several criteria, a multifaceted rating system might entice me to actually give my opinion when I don't have time to compose an essay. It would allow for more nuance while still streamlining the process.

I know some people put in one-sentence reviews, but once I start pounding the keyboard--well. So I save my energies for this forum and facebook.

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3562
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Sat March 28th, 2015, 6:19 pm

MLE: That is certainly true on the historical accuracy. I suppose what I really want to know is, how well does the writer know the setting, and what is their general take on sticking to the facts? There is a wide range, from Elizabeth Chadwick, who feels that she must do her utmost to 'connect' with a historical figure's personality and feelings, to C.W. Gortner, who (at least in The Last Queen, about Juana of Castile) admitted that he left out her overwhelming religious character so that she would not seem like 'a freak' to today's reader. I enjoy both writers' work, and didn't mind the switch in the case of Juana la Loca, but if this had been my only introduction to Juana of Castile I would have appreciated an author's note to that effect.
Carla: I haven't read CW Gortner's book on Juana of Castile yet (though I intend to at some point). Where did he say that he left out the religious aspect to Juana's character? It sounds like it wasn't in the author's note to the book (is that right?) so I am just wondering where you came across it? It's just the sort of thing that I would want to know.
I found the reference, Carla! (I confess to not knowing how to 'bump' up a quote in vbulletin--waiting for the new format to educate myself... :o )

[quote=""cw gortner""]

As a writer, we often walk fine lines between depicting the period and our characters realistically and creating commercially viable books for the publishers who pay us. A good example for me would be Juana's extreme religiousness. It is known she was an ardent Catholic but as my book went through its various incarnations, that aspect of her personality was increasingly cut back, until it ceased to exist. It just didn't work for an US audience, where religious backgrounds are so diverse. It made her look, well . . . freakish.
[/quote]
Last edited by MLE (Emily Cotton) on Sat March 28th, 2015, 6:49 pm, edited 6 times in total.

Carla
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Post by Carla » Sun March 29th, 2015, 6:16 pm

Thanks for looking up the quote, MLE! That's very interesting. No doubt other authors have experienced similar commercial pressures. It would be nice to see a brief mention in the author's note if a significant aspect has been excluded (or on the author's website if there are space constraints on the author's note).

I avoid giving star ratings for reviews because, like you, I find it too simplistic.
PATHS OF EXILE - love, war, honour and betrayal in Anglo-Saxon Northumbria
Editor's Choice, Historical Novels Review, August 2009
Now available as e-book on Amazon Kindleand in Kindle, Epub (Nook, Sony Reader), Palm and other formats on Smashwords
Website: http://www.carlanayland.org
Blog: http://carlanayland.blogspot.com

Barcelona
Scribbler
Posts: 13
Joined: April 2015

Sanitized Juana

Post by Barcelona » Mon July 6th, 2015, 7:55 pm

In response to MLE’s comments about “Year of Wonders” or author Gortner’s elimination of Juana-la-Loca’s religious zeal it seems to me that the most amazing part of HF has been eliminated. What’s so amazing is to discover that lots of real life events from the past are even more interesting than one could imagine. I mean, I’d find a freakish Juana-la-Loca more interesting than a sanitized Juana, not to mention the real-life pastor of “Year of Wonders”.

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FredQ
Technical Librarian
Posts: 192
Joined: October 2014
Currently reading: The Templars, Two Kings and a Pope
Interest in HF: I like how HF can fill in the gaps where we don't have enough information.
Preferred HF: Everything about the Knights Templars
Location: Northeast Scotland

Post by FredQ » Mon July 6th, 2015, 9:14 pm

I think that could be quite interesting indeed. On the long run it should work well for Amazon as they will make an average of all the ratings. But if you don't have a lot of reviews, they could be easily biased.

Anyway, from a technical point of view, it's not too difficult to implement (considering that we're moving to an open board obviously)
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