Review 3436

One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2007 was to read two books a month. It’s October and I’ve read seven books. I think I fell behind a bit. The author of “Beyond the Cover” is up to 113 books that Crystal, the author, has read so far this year, and managed to post a review about each of them in this book review blog.

The first thing I saw when I arrived to this site was a eight option menu at the top of the screen that I dove right into. I need to know more about weblog writers before I start in with reading each post. I can’t decide if it’s morbid curiosity, or just a valid attempt at making some sort of connection with the author. Crystal provides the standard “about” section, and includes some great additions like book recommendations sorted alphabetically by title, a list of her favorite authors, and a helpful explanation to her rating system.

Aesthetically, this is a very appropriate design-choice for the blog’s focus. It’s a three-column layout, with images of books at the top of each side column. Aside from each book review, there’s a lot of extra information in the sidebars. Recent comments, archives by categories, a site search, and what’s becoming the popular additional of Google AdSense ads can be found while scrolling up and down the page. The author also provides several accommodating ways to sort through her reviews – by rating, by author, and by genre. The layout is somehow formatted incorrectly on a few of the different menu links, but it seems to be nothing more than a slight CSS error and easily fixable.

Crystal’s book reviews are why the blog exists and she’s been very consistent posting the reviews since March 2007, according to the archives. She keeps her reviews short and to the point, unlike my review of her weblog, and doesn’t do anything at all in the way of spoiling the book for future readers. She’s even received comments on the authors of some of the books she’s reviewed.

My biggest complaint, if you can even call it that, is the lack of inconvenience to read review after review. After reading one review, readers have to navigate back to a menu of different reviews instead of just going to the previous or next one.

Overall, this blog does what it has set out to do. I enjoyed reading the reviews, because Crystal got right to the point of each one. Anyone that’s looking for a new author to start reading or a new genre to explore will find this site both useful and enjoyable.

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