What to Review This Year?

Last year curiosity had me attempting to gather data about AAR reviews. How did the reviews breakdown into genres?  Well, for a statistics novice, it was impossible.  I would cut and paste data into my spreadsheet, but never could figure out how to populate it. I would work on it for a couple of hours, and then give up. This went on for about three months.

Finally I asked the right person and discovered that LinnieGayl is an expert at this type of thing.  I sent her my Excel file and within hours I had wonderful facts and figures such as a breakdown of what we each reviewed and the totals for the site.  Now these results are not all of 2012.  A portion of December is missing, still is it very close representation of the selection here for last year.

We talked about it in the group – more like kidding each other, because some of us definitely have a preference for certain genres while others are more eclectic. But then I got busy over the holidays, and forgot all about it.  But recently two different discussions on the potpourri board brought it to mind. And I thought you as readers might be interested in seeing the scope of books reviewed here.

  Number           Percentage

Amer Hist

18

3.9

Chick Lit

7

1.5

Contemp

90

19.7

Ero Rom

3

.7

Erotica

2

.4

Eur Hist

88

19.3

Fant Fict

2

.4

Fant Rom

12

2.6

Fiction

4

.9

Frontier/West

6

1.3

Fut Rom

2

.4

Fut Rom Susp

1

.2

Gothic

2

.4

Hist Fict

4

.9

Hist Myst

3

.7

Hist Rom

13

2.8

Holiday

1

.2

Insp Rom

14

3.1

Medieval

4

.9

Mystery

7

1.5

Other

1

.2

Para Hist

4

.9

Paranormal

49

10.7

Psychic Rom

1

.2

Regency

3

.7

Rom Susp

32

7.0

Series

34

7.4

SF Rom

1

.2

Steam

5

1.1

Suspense

7

1.5

TT

1

.2

Can I admit that I was surprised how close the numbers are between historical and contemporary! Sometimes with my half empty glass attitude I tended to notice more when the reviews were of something I didn’t read.   Overall I was impressed by the variety, especially when you realize that the owners don’t assign books. Are there some holes? Sure, but that’s more because of our taste as reviewers and since we plan to add reviewers,  I expect that will change things a bit in the coming year. If I was guessing, I would suspect that our ratio of contemporary books and historicals and others probably mimics the readers to the site. However as any good pollster knows, you don’t get by on guessing.  You do surveys, you ask people questions.

Like the AAR Annual Poll, where you get the chance to voice your opinion on the best books for 2012, now you can say what you type of books you would like to see more of or even certain books that you would like to see reviewed.

Is there a guarantee that it will happen? No, because as reviewers we do get to pick our books and to be honest it is difficult enough to finish a bad book in a genre that you like, much less read a bad book in a genre that you don’t normally choose.  But we have a great group of reviewers with a wide range of tastes. If I know that there is a desire for a certain book, and the book seems interesting then I will read it over another book. And the other reviewers feel the same way.  Our goal is to assist you in finding great books.

Realize that our selection is limited by the publishers’ releases and our ability to get access to a certain book. If there are not any Westerns being released in February, then of course there probably won’t be a review of a Western, unless someone reads a previous month or previous year release. And all things are not equal. Some months there is a great selection of a certain subgenre and other months not so much.

Please comment  on the results of last year, and your wish list for this year. Is there something you really want to see reviewed this year? Is your favorite author getting the exposure you think she deserves? Or are there some authors that you feel are over exposed here?

- Leigh Davis

13 thoughts on “What to Review This Year?

  1. It’s interesting to look back and see what we have done. I think this shows we offer a pretty wide variety of reviews, which makes me happy.

    • As one of the more eclectic readers, you have definitely make a difference in the variety, with your reviews of Inspirationals, and mysteries.

      I hope we get some constructive feedback on our report card!

  2. I vote for “other” — genre-bending novels! Authors of such novels have a harder time getting reviews, given bloggers’ lists of preferred genres.

  3. I like the variety of sub-genres reviewed. Keep up the good work!

    I noticed lately a couple of m/m romances which is great. I’d like to see more LGBT books. I like that you’ve reviewed quite a few romantic suspense, but would love to see more romantic mystery–books that might be considered “suspense” but don’t generally include the serial killer or military/bodyguard tropes. Sandra Brown’s Envy is a good example.

    Lastly, I’d love to keep seeing steampunk and SF romance. They’re a little harder to come by, but can be so much fun.

  4. I would like to see AAR showcase diversity. Unusual (especially non-European) settings, quirky historical periods, non-UK and non-white protagonists, characters who are religious but not Christian… all the stuff we always say we want more of but which publishers seem afraid to take chances on. Maybe AAR could direct some purchasing dollars at those books and affect the industry.

    I would also be interested in some “AAR Classic DIK” reviews. There are so many great “buried treasure” books out there which (understandably) never got reviewed the first time around, but most of us only find them if by chance they come up on the forums. Maybe each reviewer could write one unreviewed personal DIK a year, for a total of ~1 featured book a month? It would really help a lot of us with our reading slumps, since with ebooks and online stores these old ones have never been easier to find.

    • You know – I don’t re-read that much but I think writing a DIK from our personal favorites is an excellent idea.

      Of course we would need to make sure it was available, because there is nothing more frustrating then trying to purchase a hard to find book.

  5. Some of the genres are limited by availability. One in particular is Fantasy Romance. If there were more good ones published, I’d be reviewing more! :)

    Great blog, Leigh!!

  6. Well I personally like historicals, romantic suspense, contemporary and chick lit/women’s fiction. So more of those please. :)

  7. The reviews I find most useful are those of books which are not published or marketed as in the romance genre, but which include a strong romance element in them. I guess I’ve been burned too many times by literary or mystery authors who seem to think that a proper romance has to be a tragic one, and I appreciate having the views of a romance reader before picking the book up. (I’m not suggesting to do only this, BTW. I love having the regular romance reviews as well).

    Apart from this, I fully support several of the suggestions above, including showcasing the diversity of the genre and DIKs of books we might have missed the first time around.

    Thanks so much for all the fantastic reviews over the years!

  8. I have been enjoying teen romance books but it is hard to find ones that I like and ones that appeal to an adult reader. I would love to see more teen reviews. I appreciate the m/m reviews you’ve done and would like to see more of those.

    I’d also like to read e-book only romance reviews. I know there are other sites that review these but none that I trust as much as AAR.

    Keep up the good work and thank you!

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