Welcome to High Fever Books!

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Happy New Year, and welcome to the launch of High Fever Books! It’s January 1, 2019, which means we are officially open for business!

High Fever Books aims to deliver reviews and features on the latest in genre fiction releases from independent and mainstream publishing. We’ll be covering a wide variety of categories and sub-genres, and you will find here critiques on horror, science fiction, crime, mystery, thriller, and suspense stories, the kind of books that promise to send chills down your spine and make your blood run cold. If it’s dark and exciting, we want to read it!

This is, first and foremost, a review site, but as we grow I expect we’ll have some interviews and special features to share with you, too. We’re hopeful that High Fever Books will become a vibrant part of the book community and promise to deliver honest critiques of the books we read that will help readers discover new stories to explore. I’ve been reviewing for a number of years, including outlets such as Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer, and after having reviewed a number of titles independently for my author blog I decided it was time to spin off those reviews to a dedicated platform and assemble a small team to help keep things current. To get an idea of who we are, check out the Contributors page! And if you’re interested in joining us, drop me a line at editor@highfeverbooks.com. I’m hoping to add more diverse and underrepresented reviewers and feature writers as we go along so that High Fever Books can represent a plurality of voices and perspectives on books and publishing. Unfortunately, the work we do here is entirely unpaid. We write about books because we love to. Reading is one of our main passions, our reason for being, and we want to help steer you toward all the good stuff!

Our ratings system will follow the 5-star standard used by Amazon, Goodreads, and most other markets. Plenty of room for leeway exists in interpreting what these ratings mean, to the point that not even Amazon and Goodreads can agree, despite Goodreads being owned by Amazon! For instance, two stars on Amazon means “I didn’t like it,” while Goodreads defines two stars as being “It was OK.” That’s a pretty big gulf to maneuver! I think a common sense interpretation of the star ratings values is the way to go, and here’s how we’ll be defining the scores. Note, too, that neither Amazon nor Goodreads allow for half-star ratings, so we’ll stick with whole number ratings as well.

  • 5 stars - AMAZING! This is a MUST READ book!

  • 4 stars - It was awesome, and I liked it a hell of a lot. Highly Recommended.

  • 3 stars - It was OK! Not bad, but not great either. It kept my attention and was readable, but was overall a pretty middle of the road reading experience. While it gets a thumbs up, it had some issues that kept me from enjoying it fully. It’s worth a read, though.

  • 2 stars - I didn’t like it, but there were a few redeeming qualities that kept it from being a total, colossal failure. Thumbs down.

  • 1 star - I HATED THIS BOOK! How did this thing even get published? WHY was this thing even published? Don’t waste your time or money.

Personally, I come from the Roger Ebert school of ratings, and if you’re interested in a deeper exploration of what this means, check out his entry from Sept. 2008, “You give out too many stars.” And like Ebert, I, too, have certain biases that fall in similar fashion to those of Roger’s and am fully aware of them. I won’t speak for our other contributors here, but for the sake of transparency I will say that I am more likely to enjoy certain authors, genres, and characters more than other readers and reviewers may. I suspect this is par for the course, though, and I’m sure we all have our particular favorites if we’re being honest, and that we have particular expectations of those individual’s works that we expect to have satisfied.

One thing you can count on from our reviewers is that each of us will be delivering our own individual assessments of the titles that make it our way. We may not always agree, but it’s of the utmost importance that we deliver honest critiques and call it like we see it. Not every book is for every reader, and not every critique is above reproach. We might love a book you hated and vice versa. And that’s perfectly fine! Reviews are always subjective, and there is always room for additional discussion, even if we don’t always agree. At the end of the day, though, you can at least count on us to have been honest about our thoughts and feelings on the books we’ve read.

Frankly, I'm distrustful of reviewers that give every single book they read 4 or 5 stars. Or perhaps I’m just not that universally impressed by every title on the market. I’ve encountered a number of stinkers on my journey as a reader, and I’m not shy about saying so. That said, I love books, and I go into each title hoping and wanting to be impressed.

It’s the author’s job to put their best foot forward. As reviewers, it’s our job to decide how well the end product turned out. Whether or not we like what we’ve just read, our reviews will always strive to be fair, and we will always operate under the maxim that reviews are for readers. High Fever Books is serving an audience of readers and consumers, and that’s who our critiques are meant for. Not authors and publishers. Readers. We’re not here to shine egos and pat backs undeservedly or attempt to score points with big names in the industry. If a book is worthy of praise, we’ll be singing that praise all damn day. If we think a book sucks, well, we’ll let you know that, too.

Here’s what you can expect as we get the ball rolling today. Over the course of New Year’s Day we’ll be taking a look back at our favorite reads of 2018 and Matt Brandenburg, Sadie Hartmann, and myself will be showing off our Best Of lists.

Tomorrow, Logan Noble shares a handful of his most anticipated reads of 2019. In the afternoon, I’ll be posting a massive update on the books to watch for over the first half of the year. Let me tell you right now, there are a lot of books to get excited about and I’m chomping at the bit to get to reading them!

Our reviews kick off Thursday and we have a number of titles queued up in the hopper for you, including the latest novella from F. Paul Wilson, Flame Tree Press’s re-issue of Jonathan Janz’s Savage Species, The Isle from John C. Foster, and more! On January 9, we have an exclusive excerpt from an upcoming release from JournalStone’s imprint, Trepidatio Publishing.

Over the course of the months and years ahead, we’ll be bringing you lots more reviews on past, current, and upcoming titles from a wide range of genre offerings from a diverse array of authors and publishers. High Fever Books is just getting started, and it all begins today.

— Michael Patrick Hicks, Founder of High Fever Books