As someone wise once said - I don't remember who it was, but it was someone wise - if you're going to believe the good reviews, you have to believe the bad ones, too.
But if you were really smart, you'd avoid reading reviews all together.
As those who read my books know, I tend to write with a significant amount of satire, making some of the characters somewhat bigger than life, as if were...Part of it is the fairy tale aspect of it...and part of it is...well, I can't explain it. It's just what I do.
When GEEK CHARMING came out, there were a lot of reviews on Amazon and Goodreads where people said they disliked Dylan and thought she was spoiled. Which meant that I did my job. Because it was a retelling of The Frog Prince - which is about a spoiled princess - you weren't SUPPOSED to like her. You were supposed to be rooting for Josh a.k.a. the frog, until Dylan began to change because of her relationship with him and she began to soften. That was her character arc.
Then my book LITTLE MISS RED came out last February. Another fairy tale retelling, it's a take-off on Little Red Riding Hod. This one, more than my first two, was a lot more steeped in parody. In the book, Sophie - the main character - is obsessed with romance. Her attitude about it all is over the top, and she's blind to who Jack a.k.a the wolf really is for a long time. Again, that's part of her arc. Because when she starts in that place, only to have the veil lifted as the book goes on and to see him for who he really is, then she has somewhere to go. For me to tell the story I wanted to tell with that one - about a girl who is so clueless about love and romance and so ingrained in the fantasy vs the reality - that's the way I had to tell it. Because to make her super grounded like Cindy Ella was wouldn't work. It's a different story. A different character. Is she silly with the way she compares everything to the plots in her books from the Devon Devereaux series? Absolutely. But does who she is as an overall character make up for that so that ultimately she's endearing and you're rooting for her? Well, that's my hope. Is Jack self-obsessed and narcissistic? Completely. But does his charm and his hotness and the way he makes Sophie feel like she's finally got some adventure in her life outweigh that? I think so. God knows I've lived that with many men in real life.
Maybe it's because I'm still relatively new at this thing. Maybe it's because I'm one of those sensitive people, but when I read reviews that make me feel like I missed the mark with my attempt, it makes me want to go find the reviewer and sit her or him down and explain what I was trying to do. Which is totally stupid. So the book wasn't their cup of tea. That's cool. Luckily there are bookstores full of books for them to choose from to find something they DO like.
Ironically, LITTLE MISS RED is my favorite of all the fairy tales. Probably because it's rather personal for me in that I got to work out my own stuff vis a vis my feelings and beliefs about love and romance.
I don't know exactly why I'm writing this. When people ask my why I write, I say it's an attempt to feel understood. And I guess, with RED in particular, I feel like people missed what I was trying to do. Not everyone, obviously, but a lot of people. Not that this is going to change their minds. But it did make me feel like I got my two cents in.