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May 12, 2021

Book Reviewer Spotlight Series: Alex from Likely Story

I’m Alex, a 23-year-old soon-to-be law school graduate. When I am not studying for classes, I am usually reading, playing video games, painting, or finding the best Thai restaurant in town. I started Likely Story to share my love for books with the world and inspire others to discover theirs. I wanted to create a space where reviews did not use some sort of scoring system and where readers could browse for a new book without writing them off simply because it didn’t get 5 stars. What started as a small, private hobby has blown up much more than I ever thought it would and I am eternally grateful but, at the end of the day, if I can help just one person find a new book to love, I will have done what I set out to do.

CritiqueMatch: Welcome to our Booker Reviewer Spotlight series, Alex! Let’s start off with a fun fact about you. 
Alex: One thing on my bucket list is to travel to Greece and stay in one of those rooms with an infinity pool looking out over the sea.

CM: How did you become a book reviewer? Can you offer tips to those looking to become established as book reviewers?
Alex: I would always finish a book in a day or two and find myself with nothing to read. I had a hard time finding the next thing to interest me. In my search, I stumbled across a book review blog that was so aesthetically pleasing that I fell in love with it for a while. They used a similar format that I do in that they didn’t rate books on a scale. I was inspired to create my own to help readers who were like me; in search of their next amazing read.

Some tips for those looking to become established would be to not get frustrated. It took me over a year to start getting a steady flow of reviews. I also think it is important to get listed on other websites for authors to be able to find you. I post sample reviews on Amazon and Goodreads with links to my full review as well to bring in more traffic and hopefully attract more authors who want me to review their work.

CM: Great tips—thanks for sharing them with our members. How many books do you read per year? 
Alex: It depends on how busy I am with work and school. I can go through a period where I read 15 books in 2 months. I can also go through a period where I don’t read anything for 6 months. I would say I average at least 25 books a year if you count rereads.

CM: Walk us through a book’s review process before you publish a review.
Alex: I get a book review request from my blog. I will usually read the synopsis, and if there are links to the books, I click those to check them out. If I think the book is going to be something I like, I will request a mobi file from the author. From there, the book goes on a waitlist if I have a lot of requests lined up. Once I get to the book, I will read it and try to keep track of quotes that stuck out to me. Sometimes, I am terrible at keeping track of quotes because I am too engrossed in the book. I also try to take little notes throughout reading on my phone so that I know what my thoughts were in the moment. Once I finish the book, I try to write the review that day or the day after while everything is still fresh. Depending on the review, I might save it away in a stockpile file of unposted reviews or post it right away. I try to post book reviews for books that are waiting for a review from an author right away over a book that I picked up on my own. I also post on Amazon and Goodreads for the author’s convenience.

CM: How do you select books? Do you accept unsolicited requests to read someone’s work? 
Alex: I do accept unsolicited requests to read someone’s work. They just have to submit a request through my blog. I select books that seem interesting to me. The last thing that anyone wants is to read a book that they are just dragging themselves through. I always want to try and give an author a positive review and I think it would be really hard to do if I hated the book topic.

CM: What books would you like to read more of? 
Alex: I will ALWAYS accept a good romance novel. I also love fantasy/YA/NA, but I think sometimes what is a really good concept is sometimes hard to write out. I would love to read more books that have really well-written stories and creative plots that translate well on paper. Those are sometimes hard to find.

CM: Authors, take note! What websites/platforms do you use to showcase your reviews? 
Alex: I use WordPress to run my blog on because I like how user-friendly it is. I also post short reviews on Amazon and Goodreads for the author’s convenience to help them get their review numbers up.

CM: What is the best way for authors/publishers to approach you to read a book? 
Alex: The best way for someone to approach me to read a book is to use the contact me tab on my blog and include a synopsis of their book in the message. This sends an email to me that I can then use to communicate with the author/publisher.


Reading List

Genres/sub-genres you’re looking for:
  • Fiction, romance, fantasy, mystery, sci-fi, YA, NA, dystopian, sometimes fiction depending on the subject.
What you’re not interested in:
  • Children’s, memoir & autobiography, biography, and historical non-fiction.


Do you accept unsolicited review requests? Yes

How can authors/publishers contact you? I have a contact me page on my blog ( that authors can use to submit a request for review. It is helpful if they include a synopsis and, if they have any, links to their books so that I can research them a bit before deciding if I want to read them. Authors sometimes submit a request without telling me anything about their book and I always wonder, “how am I supposed to know if I will like it or not?”