Started in 1992, the New Mystery Reader is a web-based magazine featuring information on new mystery releases in both hardcover and paperback. Each monthly issue features book reviews, short stories, articles, and author interviews. Founder and Editor Stephanie Padilla considers freelance reviews and is currently looking for quality reviewers. If you'd like to review for New Mystery Reader or would like to submit a book or short story for consideration, please read the submission guidelines. Padilla also offers Author Services in the form of manuscript evaluation. For Padilla, the toughest part of being a reviewer is being able to keep own's honesty and integrity when writing a negative review while not being unkind to the author.
Thanks for this interview, Stephanie. What do you look for in a book review?
The most important aspects that we try and share with readers is both a synopsis of the book as well as an intelligent opinion of the overall quality of writing inherent in the book. Of course, we hope that it will be honest, insightful, and offer something fresh and different than the many others out there.
What are the most common mistakes amateur reviewers make?
It seems that many new reviewers tend to give a much more positive review than sometimes deserved, but the worst mistake might be in giving away too much of the plot. Simple, I know, but you'd be amazed how often new reviewers tend to forget that they're speaking of a book that people have yet to read.
Do you think there is much value in being unkind but truthful when a book really stinks?
That's a tough question that I grapple with daily; integrity is very important to me, and I feel the main loyalty should be with the readers of our magazine. However, I think that one can express a truthful, albeit negative, opinion without being unduly unkind. This is one of the most difficult aspects of reviewing, and it's always a fine line to walk. There are ways to suggest that certain aspects of a novel are lacking in a diplomatic manner, and I know that I, and most of my reviewers, feel really bad when faced with such a situation. I have found that a good way to approach is to remember that while it may not be the type of book that personally strikes you, it still may have a quality or two worth pointing out amongst the bad.
Do you take into consideration the feelings of an author when you review or do you refuse to be swayed by them?