Saturday, July 25, 2009

Spotlight On: Cafe of Dreams

What a fabulous, fabulous week here at the Daily Dose. I want to thank all the book reviewers who took time out of their schedules to indulge me and answer my questions. I loved talking to each of you. If you haven't had a chance to read these great interviews and check out their great review sites, I suggest you check them out right now!

Normally on Saturday, I post my Weekend Wrap Up with some Writing Tips, but I was having so much fun with these interviews, I decided to add one more! So please join me in welcoming April from Cafe of Dreams!

How important is the blurb of a book to your impression of a book? What about the cover?

I would have to say that cover art on a book is one of my favorite things. I love the way different genres can convey the subject of their books through covers (one of my favorites is how fun cozy mystery covers are). Also, some book covers are almost like artwork in their beauty. However, speaking as a reviewer, neither the cover nor the blurb will effect my review process. As a buyer/browser, the cover may make me pick a book up and read further into it. As far as blurbs go, I think a great blurb can really reach out and grab a reader and make them want to peek inside to see what the book holds. I enjoy reading the blurbs, however I am also good at just scanning them and if the book is of a genre that I particularly love, or author that is a favorite of mine, then the blurb really doesn't effect me that much. I do believe that both covers and blurbs are great hooks to reel in browsers, however.

Obviously it's easy to review a book you like, but how do you handle books that don't appeal?

If a book is of a genre or topic that I truly do not like or does not interest me, I will pass on reviewing it. There simply is no reason to add my thoughts to something that I know will not be of help to either the author nor the reader who picks up this particular book because they do enjoy the genre or topic of it. Now, on the flip side, I am a very open minded reader. I happily review books of genres that I am not familiar with nor have not had that much exposure to. One example is before becoming a book reviewer, I hardly read fantasy, however I have done several virtual book tours and author/publisher requested reviews on this genre and truly enjoy it.

As far as if I read a book in which I enjoy the genre, topic, etc, but just did not overly enjoy the book/story itself, for whatever reason, I always state why I didn't care for the book (be it my inability to get into the story, not in the mood for that particular genre, mechanics, etc). However, I always find good things to mention - nothing is ever 100% negative. I believe in constructive criticism, not destructive criticism. Just because the mechanics may be bad, the storyline itself may be wonderful, or the characters may be alive and outstanding. There should always be a positive to match any negative.

Has an author ever lashed out at you for a review?

Honestly, not that I can think of. I know a couple have asked me to expand on areas that I did not enjoy from a book (which I am always more than happy to do), but it has always been done in a nice and polite way.

When you read, do you find yourself mentally writing a review or does that process begin after you've finished the story?

When I am reading a book, I will jot a note down if the story is evoking a strong feeling within me, or highlight a particular passage if it really stands out to me. Normally I just wrap myself within the story and enjoy it. I have always been a book lover and that is why I am so thrilled to be able to be a book reviewer. I process the story and review from my enjoyment and how it left me feeling. People pick up a book because they want to become engrossed within another world for a while and to that I totally relate, therefore that is where my reviews stem from. I do have to say that I write my best reviews immediately following finishing up a book. This is when my thoughts and feelings are the strongest and easiest to convey.

Do you prejudge a book, i.e. it's by an author you liked or didn't like previously?

I try not to. I can't really think of a time that I have prejudged a book, but I know this is something that is human nature. If you dislike something, you are liking to stay away from it. However, if the book is of a nature that I don't particularly enjoy (torture, excessive abuse, etc) I may not want to pick it up because of that. With that being said, I am likely to perhaps prejudge a book from it's subject matter, but not so much from the author, etc.

Have you found that your reviews influence readers?

I would like to think so, lol. I have heard people say that they have checked out a book further after hearing my thoughts on it, which thrills and humbles me. Reviewing, for me, is such a creative outlet and something that I truly and deeply enjoy. I have met so many wonderful authors and fellow book lovers that I hope I am able to give back at least a little for all the wonderful experiences that I have thus far received.

As a reviewer, if you could get authors to do one thing for you, what would it be?

Truly, the authors that I have worked with have been amazing. I have learned so much through them and find them to be so helpful, understanding and willing to do whatever is needed or helpful to get that fun extra information posted along with my review of their work. There are times that I simply get overly swamped with books, and more than not are totally understanding to this fact. It makes life so much simpler and happy/ As a book blog reviewer, it really seems to stand out if an author pops by to visit the post that I have put up of their review and leave comments. Many authors are great about that, but some not so much, so I guess that would be my only extra request.

Please be sure to give me a little plug for your review site so I can link it up.

Cafe of Dreams is a site that I started to keep track of the books that I read throughout the year. It very quickly blossomed into so much more and I am loving every minute of it! On my blog, I host authors on Virtual Book Tours, interview authors, post guest posts, run giveaways, do spotlights and add a bit of fun with little bits of trivia, games or things that I come across that interest me. Every now and then I throw in some personal happenings and pictures of my family.

As far as types of books and genres that I review, it truly is an extreme wide range. I read and review mystery, paranormal, romance, fiction, non-fiction, you name it. I also love to read eBooks, which has really opened a lot of doors to reviewing. I have also recently become a writer for Blogcritics, an online magazine, so you can check me out there as well.

Thanks so much, Heather, for this honor of being interviewed!!


  1. Hi :)
    Thank you for introducing me to April.
    It was a great interview.
    I keep learning from each reviewer.
    Love from Northern Ontario

  2. Heather, thanks so much for the great interview and for featuring Cafe of Dreams on your blog! You are so awesome!! Have a great weekend!

  3. Very interesting interview. I have followed Cafe of Dreams for quite some time now so it is nice to get to know a bit more about her. I am also a writer, trying very hard to get my contemporary romance novel published. I am at the querying stage at this point.

  4. Great interview. It's good to know more about one of the bloggers I like to visit.

    Morgan Mandel

  5. As characteristic of April, very thorough and enjoyable. COD was one of my favorite stops during my tour and I still go back every now and then just to see what she's up to.