Review Policy

Authors, Publicists, and Publishers

Before you contact me about reviewing a book, please read this page carefully.

A good place to start is with kinds of books I usually don’t review:

  • Horror
  • Anything with vampires or zombies
  • Erotica
  • Fantasy
  • Science fiction
  • Romance novels
  • Religion
  • Politics
  • Graphic novels
  • Diet
  • Business
  • Marketing
  • Finance, investing
  • Home décor
  • Home improvement
  • Gardening
  • Cookbooks
  • Art
  • Photography
  • Children’s books (younger than YA)

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However, if you look around this site you’ll see that these categorizations are not hard and fast. I don’t read much fantasy, for example, but I loved Lord of the Rings, The Mists of Avalon, and the Harry Potter series. I don’t read much science fiction, but I loved Orson Scott Card’s Lost Boys and Ender’s Game, Octavia Butler’s Kindred, and Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife. These works all share strong cultural/psychological/mythological overtones that I look for and value in literature.

But really: no horror, vampires, werewolves, or zombies. Yes, I know that all these can be used as cultural, social, and psychological metaphors, but they just don’t work for me and I don’t care to read about them. Thank you for indulging me in this.

What I Do Review:

Mainstream, or literary, fiction



Anything about reading or writing (including journal writing)


Women’s issues

True crime


I don’t share some reviewers’ dictum against self-published works. However, I am a former copy editor and English composition teacher. If your book has not been edited, I’ll catch on quickly and won’t read any further.

About Book Formats

In addition to good old-fashioned print books (ARCs are great), I can handle the following formats:

Ebooks for Kindle

Audiobooks (unabridged) I can put on my iPod

About Rating Scales

Many people like to rate books and movies with some type of scale, such as numbers from 1 (very bad) to 5 (very good). But I always have a problem using such scales. If a novel deals with some important issues but is poorly crafted, how do I rate it? Do I give it a 5 for theme and a 2.5 for craftsmanship, then average the two to determine the book's final score? I just don't feel comfortable with that. I'd rather explain in detail that the book deals with timely issues but is not well written. Most books have both good and bad points, and I try to discuss both.

However, I have labeled some books as either Recommended or Highly Recommended. If I were using a 1-5 scale, these books would be the 4s and 5s. This is just a way of pointing out what I consider to be the truly outstanding books among all the books I read.

But remember that reading is a highly individual activity. Therefore, please don't base your decision about reading a particular book on whether I've labeled it Recommended or Highly Recommended. You might absolutely love a book that I didn't much care for. This is why I try to include reasons for what I like and don't like about a particular book. Also, keep in mind that we can learn a lot from reading even a bad book. If we can explain WHY we think it's bad, we'll discover at the same time what makes a book good, and we'll appreciate the good ones more when we come across them.

My philosophy is that a review should deal with both the strengths and the weaknesses of a work. But if I can’t find anything positive to say about a book, I won’t review it at all.

Please see the "Disclosure" pane in the right sidebar.

Finally, any review I write is my own informed opinion, which has the same value as anyone else’s opinion. Please do not expect to argue or debate with me over my reaction to your work. My acceptance of a review copy in no way influences my review of a work.

Copyright Issues

Unless indicated otherwise, I hold the copyright to all materials on this site. None of this material may be reproduced in any medium without written consent. To contact me for consent, use the contact form in the sidebar. Short quotations may be used on blogs, book jackets, and other promotional materials with appropriate attribution. Please attribute all such quotations to Mary Daniels Brown and provide a link to this site.

Thank you for you cooperation.

All material on these pages is © as indicated by Mary Daniels Brown