My name is Italian and is pronounced “joy-ah.”
The Types of Stories I Recommend
Well-written, low-angst, highly-imaginative, novel-length, completed, het and gen stories encompass the majority of my recommendations. I’ll ignore a small amount of writing errors if the story is creative enough and captures my imagination or makes me laugh. But if it has high amounts of angst, an unhappy ending, or simply doesn’t keep me engrossed, then no amount of writing excellence will keep me reading. Also, in an effort to avoid repetitious posts which are saying essentially the same thing, it’s unusual for me to rec sequels to a story I’ve already rec’d. While I sometimes rec an entire fic series or book series in a single review, it is more common for me to only rec the first story I read in a series and include links to the sequels. Finally, I have a deep loathing of plagiarism. If you find that I have recommended plagiarized (in full or in part) stories, please let me know immediately. I refuse to pimp the hard work of one author while crediting another.
If I have already written a recommendation for your story, and you would like me to re-post that existing rec somewhere else, such as Amazon, just let me know; I’d be happy to oblige you. However, I do not accept requests to write a new review or rec. This is due entirely to my own frustrating limitations. Please feel free to alert me if you’ve written something you think I’ll enjoy – I love receiving story recs! But understand that I regretfully have a firm policy about promising to post a rec upon request, as I’m just not able to keep up with requests.
Critique in Recs
First, don’t take the critique too seriously, as I only recommend stories I love. For that reason, when I first began writing recs years ago, I didn’t include any criticism. Thus, recs within my older fandoms do not include any critique at all. However, I usually include critique in my novel recs (albeit more strongly worded than with the fanfic recs), and I’ve been trying to remember to do so with the Pride & Prejudice fic recs since I was starting from scratch in the case of that fandom, and was therefore able to [attempt to] be consistent and fair by always including critique, and thus hopefully avoiding the appearance of singling anyone out for criticism.
My purpose in including a brief, mild bit of critique within the recs is two-fold: 1) To alert readers to anything which might impede their enjoyment of a story, so that they know in advance to either avoid the story or to ignore that element. I don’t want to direct readers to a story which they might hate because I failed to warn them about something, prompting them to leave an unkind review on the author’s site. 2) To offer an element of objectivity by being upfront about anything which might impact a reader’s interest in a story, for better or worse. Overly-gushy praise can often come across as insincere and even untrustworthy when there is no honest acknowledgement of anything but the laudable elements. I hope that my inclusion of critique allows readers to better trust my praise.
I generally do not read or recommend stories which are incomplete or abandoned. So unless marked otherwise, it should be safe to assume that any story listed here is complete. Just to be safe, check the story recommendation’s full header, though, as I always mark MIA and WIP fics in red.
The tags on the sidebar (at right) are the best place to start if you’re searching for a particular fandom’s recs. Keep in mind that I do not include critique in the story tags. E.g., if you see a story tagged “out-of-character” behavior, that isn’t meant as a criticism. For example, a modern adaptation of Pride & Prejudice would be tagged “OOC” because, of course, a career-woman!Elizabeth Bennet is out-of-character when compared to canon. However, that’s a purposeful element – not a story flaw. In addition, I don’t tag obvious elements that are part of the show’s premise: Doctor Who stories aren’t marked “time-travel,” Harry Potter stories aren’t marked “Fantasy.” I also don’t tag every single element to a story, but if I’ve missed a defining aspect of the story, please alert me.
Alternate Universe or AU fics, as defined by Gioia
My personal definition of an AU or “Alternate Universe” story requires that the opening act, or first chapter, not occur as in canon. I.e., a Roswell AU would involve no shooting in the Pilot episode, or perhaps a lack of any aliens; a Harry Potter AU would require something major to have changed on, or possibly before, October 31 or November 1, 1981, such as the Potters surviving or not being attacked. In other words, the foundation of the canon story must be altered – not merely the subsequent occurrences – in order for a story to be “AU,” according to my personal definition. Since this is my blog and my own way of sorting stories, when my definition differs from the author’s, I generally sort the story based on my own definition.
Spoilers in the Tags!
The tags are there so that stories can be sorted by category. However, they will necessarily have spoilers within them. Wherever possible, I try to avoid the worst spoilers being included in the tags, but consider yourself warned and try to ignore them if you hate being spoiled.
Consistency in the Formatting
There often is none. I used a different format for each fandom and for my novel reviews, wrote the recs over a period of many years, and often forgot to make note of important details. Some recs are over 1,000 words long; some barely 5 words. But since this isn’t a professional site, I’m not making any attempt at trying to reformat several hundred recs into one consistent template. I’m happy when I remember to include the story’s link!
You call that a recommendation?
Worst of all, many of my earliest recs can be very poorly written, because I was in a rush to get them up, and often did not spend the time I ought to have in composing them for this audience. I must apologize to any authors whose recs appear to be “damning with faint praise,” as that is not at all my intention. If your story is rec’ed here, it is because I adore it. I would never post a rec for it otherwise. I am gradually in the process of re-writing all of those older recs so that I can correct this horrible goof.
Objectivity in Recs
Over at Know-It-Alls there are strict rules about what fics a staffer may not rec, in order to maintain our objectivity. E.g., we cannot rec fics which we wrote or for which we beta read. I don’t attempt to make any claims of objectivity here, since this is my personal listing. I include some stories for which I served as beta as well as stories written by some of my friends. If I avoided rec’ing those fics, the Roswell category, in particular, would be pretty empty.
Roswell Fic Recs
When I was involved in that fandom years ago, I did not log my fic recs; so I am unfortunately not able to offer many Roswell fic recs now. I’ll only be posting a handful of recs for those Ros-fics which are either fresh in my mind (as I occasionally still re-read them) or for which I had saved my comments and feedback along with the story (from my days of reading while using dial-up, when I’d write my feedback off-line). Therefore, the exclusion of any fics or authors should not be taken as a deliberate slight. I might know that a particular fic is brilliant (such as in the case of many of my old Polar favorites or the stories written by my Polar Mafia friends), but if I haven’t read it in 5-10 years, I can’t exactly write an intelligent review of it now, and I’m not really interested in seriously re-exploring that fandom’s fics anymore, as my interests have since changed. I would encourage you to check out the award winners at Polar Attraction and Roswell Fanatics for examples of many of the best fics in that fandom.
Corrections or Comments
Feel free to alert me to any errors you catch (including any of the more egregious examples of the above). These recs were often written years ago, and I’m tagging from memory in many cases. So if I’ve goofed, I’d like to know so that I might fix my error or enhance the listing. I won’t take offense so long as you aren’t unkind. 🙂 If you have thoughts you’d like to add to a story rec, please feel free to reply with your “ditto” or disagreement. Discussions (sans insults, and especially not directed toward the author) are welcome!