I fully understand that reviews are subjective and that we won’t all enjoy the same types of books. That being said, I’m constantly surprised at some reviews I read. I, of course follow some blogs and if they recommend a book I’ll most likely read it. However, I recently stopped following a blogger I used to love.
This was the third time she’d rated a book highly that I completely hated. I’m not saying she lied about her views, I’m just saying that clearly we’re not on the same wave-length anymore.
The book came highly recommended by the blogger and I decided, since I’d been burnt twice by two previous books she’d recommended, I would go to Goodreads and see what my trusted friends thought of the book. As it turns out, none had read it but they all had marked it down as ‘to-read.’
I went through all the reviews I could find and everyone was super enthusiastic about the book, almost all 5 star reviews. So I decided to give it a go. I was surprised by how much I disliked the book. I actually checked the reviews again to make sure I hadn’t missed something but no, not my kind of book.
Two of my Goodreads friends finally read it and completely agreed with me but one took it a step further which started a discussion that intrigued me. In the comments section, a few people said that they no longer trust ARC reviews from bloggers. Some even went further to say that they didn’t trust bloggers at all.
Ouch! It got me wondering how many of you trust blog reviews. I realized that I now only have two blogs I trust and that I mostly rely on my Goodreads friends for recommendations. Those girls are honest, most times brutally so, and I appreciate it. I decided to analyse myself and my reviews.
Are ARCs more difficult to critique? For me, not really. I’m constantly aware that what I say about a book might impact whether or not my ‘followers’ buy the book. I’m not so conceited as to think that I actually impact sales, but with like minded people, people I trust to recommend good books and vice versa? Those people tend to listen if I rant about a book. Therefore I review every book the same way.
I will say though that there is some more pressure when it comes to review copies than there is if I bought the book myself. I’ve found that I prefer to buy the book or get it from the publisher, than be in contact with an author sending me review copies.
Contact with authors is something I’m wary about. I’ve become quite good ‘friends’ with some authors and it’s always harder to critique their books. If I love the books, I fan girl all over the place which is embarassing enough. If I hate the book, then I’ve found it better to put it in my DNF pile. Why complete something I don’t enjoy? If it holds my interest but I’m still not wowed, then I will say it in my review, and keep my fingers crossed that the author won’t send me an email about it.
You’d be surprised how many do write back and it puts me in a weird position having to explain what I already said in my review. The other thing I don’t particularly like is being friends with authors on Goodreads. I try to avoid that to be honest but I’ve realized I can’t maintain the barrier that I seek. Because whether you’re Goodreads friends or not, authors will see who’s reading their books.
I once wrote an update on a book I was reading… it was so ridiculous, I posted a quote from it. The author immediately contacted me saying that she was sorry I wasn’t enjoying the book and that her humor might be too ‘out there.’ I immediately stopped posting updates and found that I couldn’t even finish the book.
Another time I posted that I was reading a particular book and the author immediately contacted me saying that she was stoked and that she hoped I’d enjoy it. I didn’t, and then I felt really awkward posting my review.
A third time I updated that I’d finished a book with a ‘review to come’ on the review box. The author immediately liked it. The sad thing is that I knew my review was going to criticize what I didn’t like and she was going to immediately regret liking my update.
Sigh. It’s tough but it has to be done. I battle with honesty and critique because I don’t want to hurt any feelings. I get that it’s a hard job to be a writer and I don’t want to bring anyone down. However I also want to be honest and tact is a skill I somehow don’t have enough of 😦
Anyway, enough of my ranting. I’m curious to know how much bloggers influence what books you buy… and where your main influence comes from. And to bloggers, how much contact you have with authors and if it influences your reviews.
To leave on a good note. Let me recommend three books that have completely rocked my reading world in 2014 🙂
“I’m not sure what you have been told about me, but I’m not nearly as bad as they make me out to be.” His deliciously deep voice carried a little bit of ego.
I’m sure you are exactly as bad as they make you out to be….
Brad De Luca is used to getting whatever and whomever he wants. The premier divorce attorney in town, he’s a playboy who’s bedded half the city—including his own clients. And when the newest intern at his firm poses a challenge, his seductive prowess goes into overdrive.
Pre-law student Julia Campbell is fresh off a failed engagement and happy with her new independence. Even if she weren’t warned away from Brad at every turn, she’d know he was bad news. The last thing she needs is a man who could destroy her job prospects, not to mention her innocence. But before she knows it, the incorrigible charmer has her under his spell. His deviant tastes plunge her deep into a forbidden world of sexual exploration…but her heart may not survive the fall.
A beautiful young woman is out for revenge—only to find the man she’s targeting has secrets as dangerous as her own, and a passion she cannot resist.
Ever since her mother died while serving time for a murder she didn’t commit, Bell’s been focused on one thing: revenge. She knows her mother was set up by the head of the powerful Gable family, international bankers who will crush anyone for profit, or amusement. Now she’s determined to take the Gables down—from the inside.
Seducing her way into the life—and bed—of the family’s rebellious youngest son, Lander, she figures it should be easy to uncover the secrets she needs to destroy his family. But Lander turns out to be much more complicated than Bell ever could have imagined. He’s enticing, intelligent, mysterious—and their sexual chemistry is off the charts. Lander is still the target, but once Bell gives in to her desire to touch him, he starts seeming much less like an enemy… Which is why her anger is more necessary than ever: Memories of her mother must help fuel her quest for justice to the very end.
When Caroline Piasecki’s ex-boyfriend posts their sex pictures on the Internet, it destroys her reputation as a nice college girl. Suddenly her once-promising future doesn’t look so bright. Caroline tries to make the pictures disappear, hoping time will bury her shame. Then a guy she barely knows rises to her defense and punches her ex to the ground.
West Leavitt is the last person Caroline needs in her life. Everyone knows he’s shady. Still, Caroline is drawn to his confidence and swagger—even after promising her dad she’ll keep her distance. On late, sleepless nights, Caroline starts wandering into the bakery where West works.
They hang out, they talk, they listen. Though Caroline and West tell each other they’re “just friends,” their feelings intensify until it becomes impossible to pretend. The more complicated her relationship with West gets, the harder Caroline has to struggle to discover what she wants for herself—and the easier it becomes to find the courage she needs to fight back against the people who would judge her.
When all seems lost, sometimes the only place to go is deeper.