I got a good one this week. I found out my May book DANCING IN THE MOONLIGHT received 4 1/2 stars and is a Top Pick for May from RT. This is a big deal to me -- only my second Top Pick from the magazine, although their reviewers generally give me favorable ratings (the aforementioned 1-star slamfest notwithstanding!). I've been fortunate to have a couple books be nominated for the top Intimate Moments of the year by their reviewers and have twice been nominated for a Career Achievement Award.
I haven't actually seen the review as I don't subscribe to the magazine, just buy it in the bookstore the months I have a book out. If anybody gets it and wants to share, I'd love to see it.
So back to reviews. Most of the time I find them interesting learning experiences, even when the reviewers don't like my books. Sometimes they're ego-strokers. Sometimes I just shrug them off and wonder if the reviewer even read the book in question. I agree with Joyce Carol Oates: "Critics sometimes appear to be addressing themselves to works other than those I remember writing."
My favorite quote on critics is from Noel Coward: "I love criticism just so long as it's unqualified praise."
I have a little thicker skin than that but I must admit, it's validating when a reviewer seems to understand what I was trying to do with a story. DANCING IN THE MOONLIGHT is my 20th book and though I'm fond of all of them, writing this one was a particularly magical experience. I loved the characters and the situation and the strength they found within themselves to face their challenges. It's nice to know at least one other person liked it too!