A Note To Authors & Publishers

I am always flattered to be asked to read a book.  Since I much prefer reading to watching TV and read at a pretty fast clip, I review a fair number of books, and while many of the books that I review are cookbooks, I also greatly enjoy Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Legal and Science Mysteries/Thrillers and some Young Adult literature.  I'm often asked how I decide how many stars to give a book.  Here are some of my guidelines.

  • I will not review a Kindle book in place of a printed copy or a printed copy in lieu of the Kindle version.  Such things as page layout, page breaks, type size, color & font are important to the usefulness of a book.
  • I will not review a partial or sample book in place of the entire manuscript.  If you want my review to apply to an entire book, then I need to see the entire book.
  •  I always try to give an honest review.  Asking me to review your book does not in any way guarantee that you will get a four or five-star review.   Please bear in mind that ultimately reviews are not for the benefit of the author but for the buying public.

Kindle Books:

Most of the Kindle books that I review are cookbooks with a splash of gardening or crafts thrown in along with the very occasional novel or children's book.  The Kindle books that I review have all been made available under the promotional program that allows authors to offer their books for free for a certain number of days per contract period.   Things I expect to see:

  • An Interactive Table of Contents where appropriate.  I award a full star to those Kindles that have the TOC in the front of the book, list every recipe or article in the TOC and correctly interface the TOC with the Kindle Navigation Menu.
  • Correct spelling and reasonably literate writing.  (What can I say, I'm the daughter of an old-time English teacher . . )
  • Unique content! If I find all of your recipes at Allrecipes or your articles on some website somewhere, I will both state that in my review and award you only a single star.  I do not reward plagiarism, even if you "bought the rights."
  • A reasonably well formatted book with no huge white spaces, stray Table of Contents in the middle of an ingredients list and the like.  Please do not double space ingredients lists or pad the book with repeated, drawn out lists of necessary equipment.
Kindle authors are welcome to email me the details of when their book will be available on free promotion days, though I cannot guarantee a review at that time.  Please note that I do not accept ebooks in any format other than Kindle (unless you are publishing an iBook), nor do I accept ebooks by email.  If you would like me to review your Kindle, then simply send me the pertinent information along with the date that it will be available for free download on Amazon.

Printed Matter:

These days most of the books that I purchase are additions to my extensive collection of cookbooks, my hobby for more than a half-century.  Most of the rest of the printed books that I review come through the Amazon Vine program.   I'm always happy to review cookbooks and cooking related gizmos outside of that venue, but do be aware that I am required by Amazon's Terms of Service and Review Guidelines to disclose that I received the item for review.  Providing me with a book or item to review does not guarantee that I will give it a positive review - just an honest one.  Things I expect to see in a printed cookbook include:

  • A font that I can read without my reading glasses.  Often young graphic designers are not aware that the human eye begins to change in early middle age and that  the very people they may want to attract as buyers are also the people who need reading glasses.  Fine, small print is often problematic, especially in low light conditions or on brightly colored pages.  Some color combinations are always problematic - white, yellow or blue on black for example.
  • A book that is not too heavy to hold.  That heavy glossy stock may make your pretty pictures look lovely, but it makes for an extremely heavy book and pages that stain badly
  • Picture captions.  The only purpose most pictures have in a cookbook is to give the reader some idea of what the finished dish looks like.  Nothing is more irritating than to not know which recipe a particular picture belongs to.  Well, almost nothing . . .
  • A workable index!  I should not have to spend minutes hunting for a particular recipe because of a poorly constructed index.  See my review of The Essential New York Times Cookbook for more detail.

I do not accept payment of any kind in exchange for a review, other than the item you wish to have reviewed, nor can I guarantee a review by a certain date unless arrangements are made well in advance. 

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.


  1. Grandma,

    Glad to find this blog. I haven't seen you around for a while and I've been in research mode so I haven't been on the boards.

    How are you enjoying your new kitchen?


    1. Hi Marg - Nice to hear from you. Glad you stopped by! I've been around. Still trying to fit everything into the kitchen with a shoe-horn. I really don't believe that I fit it all in the old, very much smaller place LOL! I've been baking a lot of bread though, have my sourdough starter back in action. Now if I could only find the camera . . .


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