Cardinal Bluff Review Standards

Cardinal Bluff Reviews avoids books featuring shock and awe

Why get so ‘hot and bothered’ about the determination to promote Flinch-Free reading?  Because, over time, I’ve noticed that I don’t have to read JUST EVERYTHING that comes before my eyes.  I get to choose to read things that are less likely to give me nightmares, make me distrustful of others, or just plain gross me out.  I fully understand that no fiction author can make up stuff that is MORE than real life.  My heart breaks for people who are abused verbally, physically and who are treated or ended brutally in real life.

Cardinal Bluff Flinch Free Reading - Are you tired of shock and awe

Fiction is not real life — it is entertainment reading with possibility of some information gathering that helps round out the story. As an entertainment resource, I’ve chosen to become CHOOSY about what I permit to come before my eyes!  Both in books and on screens. 

Are you getting tired of Shock and Awe for entertainment?  Would you rather pick up a book and go to a comfort place where maybe something sweet/sad brings a smile or a couple tears?  There is a reason those Hallmark and Lifetime movies are so popular. And a reason that It’s A Wonderful Life is a favorite Christmas movie!  The biggest reading time is WINTER when there are many natural things such as shorter days and light working on our comfort zones.  Make your ‘hibernation reading’ time a comfort reading time with happy endings and intelligent vocabularies.

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The standards for Cardinal Bluff are slightly flexible.  For some NON FICTION books, particularly biographical or autobiographical, with something REAL to say, the standards will be loosened. These are real-life stories from people whose abuse, suffering and accomplishment deserve to be acknowledged.   I will give you a pinned heads-up about language or violence in case your reading convictions are inflexible.

Standards for Cardinal Bluff Flinch-Free Reading

Profanity: There is are readers who do not get their thrills from gratuitous, sick profanity or violence.  As a reader, I believe that people need some ‘taboo language’…words that are without doubt expletives, but which are used sparingly.  Making every other word a vulgarity (think F-word, bodily functions, defaming someone’s mother or birth heritage) displays ignorance.  Similarly out-right speaking a curse by damning an individual is evil. 

Erotica: Explicit sexual description is not my choice for reading. Sexual intercourse is not a spectator sport. While romance is an integral part of many stories, an author who insists on biological details says two things to me:  1. About the story — there wasn’t enough plot to meet the required word count. 2. About the author — “Those who can do and those who can’t talk about it all the time.”

Violence: Savoring explicit violence is not the purpose of entertainment reading.  Gory torture and murder for entertainment has led me to avoid authors in whom I saw promise. There are some popular television programs which I refuse to watch because of the visual and implied violence.

Prohibited in Cardinal Bluff Reviews!

Soft standards: 

 ONE: Some books just aren’t my cup of tea.  They may be clean as a whistle, but don’t interest me. Usually I can tell from the description, learning about shape changer fantasy, science fiction, rambling poetry.  I avoid reading them, so they won’t be reviewed.  IF I should get into a book that doesn’t interest me to even finish it, but which is really well-written, I will try to work it in the reviews with a FLAT recommendation.  On the other hand, a real stinker just won’t get reviewed!  It isn’t part of my interest to actively TRASH ‘stinkers’ or ‘duds’.  Or trash the premise of a book. If the premise doesn’t appeal to me, the only thing proved is that this book isn’t for me.  I hope there was enough warning that I chose NOT to read it. If I did get sucked into that book and did read it, the time has come to forget it!

TWO: I prefer to recommend books that have been edited for content and print (typos, etc).  An author who really cares will either invest in another person’s effort for editing or will read their book from the end to the beginning looking for weird spaces.  From much of the material I see, I must be close to ‘grammar police’ and an outlier.  There must be a hoard of readers out there who don’t care.  Or maybe they don’t really read the book, they just pretend to read it.


There are some well-written plots that don’t meet the standards at Cardinal Bluff.  There are times that I get into them and go ahead and read them.  When I find a book like that, I have another place to review them. You will find them at the Not So Flinch Free category.

You will still NOT find some really gory, offensive stuff there because I am not interested in reading those books. Therefore, I don’t know enough to write a review.  Should you enjoy really gory stuff that offends me, please feel free to start your own review resource.  I would be more than happy to help you with information about setting up your own blog.  You are welcome to subscribe and start with any items that are in the resource library.

Remember our author friends benefit from reviews about their art. Subscribers can download their free copy of Book Notes to keep track of review notes. And have ongoing access to other new things that will be coming to the Resource Library at Cardinal Bluff.