book reviews - the good and the ugly
Updated: Dec 5, 2021
Yesterday, I received my first critical review on Goodreads.
I was going to write a whole post about the feels it stirred and the intense vulnerability of putting your work out into the world for others to judge and criticize—but then I decided it wasn't worth giving it this much energy.
As one fellow author said to me:
Congrats—you're a real author now. 💖 Think of it as a rite of passage. And that's just it. An initiation.
As it so happened, I woke up this morning to the long-awaited email from a professional book review service I'd enlisted five weeks ago, called Independent Book Review. Their email stated that their reviewer had enjoyed my book, and they were asking for my approval to share it with their audience. 😮🙌🏼🎉 I'd known this was a possibility—had secretly hoped for it—but hadn't quite let myself dare believe they'd like my book well enough to feature it on their website.
Had I not received that stinger of a review last night, I would have been flying high this morning when I opened that email. As it was, I sobbed. With relief. With overwhelming emotion.
What a stark contrast. Here are a few small excerpts from the Independent Book Review by Alexandra Barbush:
"Angie K. Love’s lesbian literary novel is catchy and keeps us constantly engaged. With short chapters and a consistent back and forth between present day and the 1800s, the reader quickly starts to understand that Sage and Alex are Lizzy and Claudia in a past life—long before Love explicitly states it in a “vision” of Sage’s."" "While we expect the two narratives to play out simultaneously and similarly, Love does a good job of surprising us and reminding us what exactly past lives are for—learning, growing, and changing." "I’d recommend Awakening Hearts to anyone interested in dramatic and engaging love stories. It’s a fast and fun read with a back-and-forth narrative that never feels boring. Most characters are women and most of the love/drama centers around gayness, lesbianism, and bisexuality. Readers uncomfortable or unwilling to engage with the full range of sexuality may not be interested. This novel is a joy to read. Love asks the reader to jump in fully and believe several tropes: love at first sight, past life love connections, and surprisingly woke Christian white men in rural 1800s Ohio; if you’re willing to jump in, you’ll enjoy it thoroughly." The "woke Christian white men" made me laugh out loud. There are, indeed, a couple of male characters in the story who surprised me as I wrote them into being. Hopefully they'll equally surprise and delight you. You can read the full review here.