Why Book Reviews Aren´t What They Should Be

I think it’s safe to say that alot of people know what book reviews are, so no use to give a deeper explanation for that term.

But what is a review for?

Well, to keep this simple- reviews are there for indecisive people who search for a good book to read( and to help authors with sales ).Or, sometimes not help them ( depending on the reviews content). Either way- reviews are important. ( read 5 Reasons Why Book Reviews Are Important )

But, did you know reviews can also be corrupt? Oh, yes. Quite so.

There are 2 major types of reviews.

1 )reviews

2 ) do-me-a-favor-reviews / help-me-climb-the-ladder-to-success-reviews

Confusing? It shouldn’t be. An author usually has a goal, and that is to make a living off of writing and that’s perfectly fine. If it were up to me I’d wish everyone the success they want. Unfortunately, the road to that success can be a rocky one. There’s so much to do to get „out there”. Writing a book and hoping for a miracle to happen doesn’t cut it anymore.

 Writing a book and hoping for a miracle to happen doesn't cut it anymore

Authors/ writers depend on one major thing- positive feedback. The more positive feedback they get the better their chances are for more exposure. Word can spread really fast and that helps loads.

(Uugh…this is boring……* head against table * )

I like to say I’m a skilled book ninja. I have my eyes and ears all over the place, especially in the indie-author community. When blogging I keep an eye on all sorts of stuff, such as: new book releases, blog tours, author streetteams, yada yada yada, AND reviews. Yes. I read reviews, too. And due to my ninja observation skills I know who’s besties with who and who’s fan #1. If you take a closer look I’m sure you’ll notice, too. 

Can anyone remember the shitstorm Amazon caused with their taking down reviews from certain books? Yes. That was a thing and it pissed so many people off. I would know. I witnessed it, first hand. Amazon never took any of my reviews down ( Thank God ) but they did with other bloggers and fans. And guess what? Bravo! It was about time. Not that I´m pointing fingers at anyone in particular. I´m sure many deleted Amazon reviews were wrongly accused of diabolical review-washing. But the majority? Serves them right. 

I’m positive that won’t win me any plus points. But I don’t really care. When I hunt for books I’m just an ordinary reader. And when I notice someone is just doing an author a favor my blood pressure rises. How am I to trust these people who devote their lives to these authors? Their judgement is clouded in so many ways that their reviews aren’t trustworthy anymore.

Sure, I’m all for supporting my favorite authors. But stay realistic. Stay professional.

I’ve seen people befriend authors ( mainly through Facebook ) and get really REALLY tight with them ( again…that’s fine. Anything that floats their boats). And then I’ve seen those authors publish book after book after book and each book got the same LOVE as the ones before, by the same people. An author can write 12 books ( each with different stories ) in a year and still, they’d get 12 outstanding reviews from the same blogs who are oh-so-tight with them. Something is totally fishy there. There is no way a person will LOVE everything an author writes. No-ho! 

It’s impossible. There always a slower book in-between great books. A story that, in truth, deserved 3 stars because it was, in fact, slower, or a bit more softer, or just not someone´s cup of tea. Any normal thinking person would rate the slower book with 3 stars ( or less) because that’s how they actually felt about the story, no matter how much they loved the authors other books. But, nooooooo.Some bloggers / fans feel so much loyalty towards an author that they feel compelled to give the slower book 5 stars.

Why does that happen? Do readers/ bloggers think their friendship will go down the drain if they’re honest? Or does it have anything to do with stupidity? I. Don’t. Know! You tell me. But something is definitely not right there.

I’m not sure if that can be considered as healthy behavior.

Would you like to know what helps me pick a book? I skip all the 5 star reviews and jumped right to the 3 or fewer ones. I’m not saying that all high rated reviews are full of shit, but can you blame me for doubting them? Reading a 3 star review will not convince me NOT to buy a book because tastes are different. It’s as simple as that.

I know I shouldn’t waste my time breaking my little head over the review matter, because it’s really not worth it. Reviews are… subjective. I’ve wasted so much energy trying to figure out why bloggers aren’t fully honest with their thoughts regarding a book * sigh *. But you’ve got to see my point of view, here- I want to read a book and the only way not to dive blind into a story is to read reviews and see how others judged a book. And people who do authors those stupid favors ( because they want recognition or what not) aren’t helping me, or any other book nerd out there.

That’s basically why I was happy about the Amazon clean-out.

The book universe is sometimes a dark place. Bloggers doing authors favors because they’re afraid to jeopardize their friendship is not okay. 

There was a time, way back in the early blogging days, when bloggers helped authors get reviews by doing so called blog tours for their favorite writers. Blog tours are nothing other than a virtual book promotion where often free copies of a story were/are offered. The only thing wrong with those blog tours were / are… a reviewer CANNOT publish a review with less than 3 stars, depsite what their true thoughts of said book were/are. Anything to avoid a bad review. So, a reviewer either lies or they don´t review at all and risk a potential shout out from the blog tour hosts. I call that…. corrupt. And wrong.
Another observation I made:
Authors releasing new books and bluntly asking for 5 star reviews. Because a 4 star review isn´t going to make sales. * holding breath * The same authors then wonder why hardly any people leave reviews.  That screams desperate.

This is also the main reason why I believe honesty is the best policy. State your real opinions instead of doing favors. 

And for the authors who are hungry for fame….. The big shot writers often have alot of negative reviews along with the 5 stars. That´s definitely something to think about.

It´s amazing to watch authors and their devoted fans go to such extremes. But it´s less amazing when you spot the lie.

I feel cheated on. Ripped off.

Book Review- The Unrequited by Saffron A. Kent

Book Description

Layla Robinson is not crazy. She is suffering from unrequited love. But it’s time to move on. No more stalking, no more obsessive calling. 

What she needs is a distraction. The blue-eyed guy she keeps seeing around campus could be a great one—only he is the new poetry professor—the married poetry professor.

Thomas Abrams is a stereotypical artist—rude, arrogant, and broody—but his glares and taunts don’t scare Layla. She might be bad at poetry, but she is good at reading between the lines. Beneath his prickly façade, Thomas is lonely, and Layla wants to know why. Obsessively.

Sometimes you do get what you want. Sometimes you end up in the storage room of a bar with your professor and you kiss him. Sometimes he kisses you back like the world is ending and he will never get to kiss you again. He kisses you until you forget the years of unrequited love; you forget all the rules, and you dare to reach for something that is not yours.

My Thoughts

I had high hopes for `The Unrequited` by Saffron A. Kent. After one look at that cover I had a feeling the book was going to be an epic read.The Unrequitted

Let´s just say this story didn´t do it for me as much as I hoped it would.

`The Unrequited`- A student / teacher, stalker / teacher story that seemed more questionable than anything else. Did I like it? Not so much.

The opening scene starts off with Layla visiting her therapist / guidance counselor, which is a super interesting scene and a fabulous character introduction. A reader gets a colorful POV from Layla, a lonely and special individual who mourns the loss of her stepbrother / best friend / love of her life and can´t seem to function without him. Layla has an unhealthy obsession for Caleb and without him…her life spirals out of control. The weird thing is- ( BEWARE! SPOILER AHEAD ) he´s not dead. He just moved away.

Not too shabby, right?

Layla, one day, stumbles upon a mysterious, hot guy ( a.k.a The Blue Eyed Smoker ) and follows him across campus and into his class. Yupp. He´s a professor and teaches poetry. Something Layla has no effin´ clue about, yet she finds herself a seat and makes herself comfy.

Okay. So, this is where the story went slightly downhill for me and I fully blame it on both main characters.

As mentioned above – Layla is this lost soul who doesn´t really know what to do with herself because of the one guy she can´t have. Her life looks peachy on the outside but from the inside- she´s an emotional mess. It´s like a thick rain cloud constantly follows her. And, her favorite pastime activity is stalking.

Thomas, the professor, the blue-eyed smoker, the successful published poet- just as depressing only he acts like a glorified dick. BUT, he has his reasons. There´s an explanation for everything. * sigh *

The two together couldn´t have been more different and still, they found a way to be together.

I´m going to be frank, here.

Layla was nuts. Thomas was nuts. The way he treated her was unbelievable and Layla let everything happen to her. Without a word she played the doormat for the professor and it wasn´t pretty reading about it. That doesn´t really put them both in a nice light, if you ask me. But there was a reason for the way he treated Layla. And there was a reason for why Layla let Thomas act the way he did.

But after I was a little over halfway through the story, I didn´t really care if there was a specific reason for their actions anymore. Who in their right mind would treat another person as poorly as the Hero did? For me, he wasn´t worth it. I would have left his class and flipped him off on the way out. Thomas´ mood went up and down, in and out. He wasn´t good with speaking words but boy, did he know how to put someone in their place. I was super close to DNFing the story.

I set the book aside and took a break for a few days. I didn´t want to completely give up but I needed some time away from the crazy. After a few days I reentered Layla and Thomas´ world with a more open mind and finished the story.

I think the main reason why this book didn´t do it for me was me. I´m someone who loves to relate to characters. I love to imagine myself in their position. But with these figures I couldn´t do it. Their actions weren´t anything shocking, to be honest, but I don´t stalk, nor can I imagine myself doing so. I don´t let anyone talk to me in a degrading way and have sex with them afterwards, so their actions weren´t really something to be excited about.

Aside from my dislikes, there were a few things that, indeed, brought me joy.

The writing was impeccable. There was a great reading flow and a perfect balance between action, narrative and dialogue.

The end was really good. I liked how things turned out for the characters, despite me not fully liking them.

Would I recommend this book? Yes and no. I´m not sure to whom I´d recommend this book to. It does come with a warning that this story is for ages 18+ and also deals with sensitive topics, e.g. cheating.

Would I reread this book? Probably not.

The Cover – 5 stars ( It´s a beautiful cover image with eye-catching colors.)

The Characters – 2 stars ( They weren´t for me. )

The Story – 3 stars ( In general, not a bad idea. Just not my cup of tea. )

My emotional state after finishing this read – Indifferent.

I´m giving `The Unrequited` by author Saffron A. Kent 3 out of 5 stars

Purchase the book here.

Journal Junkie

I have many bad habits. I wouldn´t even call them bad habits because that´s still a nice description for what I´m dealing with. Since “nice” is the little brother of shit I´m going to say I´m an addict. A terrible terrible one.

My top 3 addictions would be:

  1. Amazon.com
  2. reading
  3. journals

( All my other addictions are just as bad but I don´t have enough time, love, energy and space to share them all.)

If I´m shopping I´ll always come home with a small blank paged booklet, a notepad, lose paper, or a journal with a beautiful front. Yes. I´m a Journal Junkie. I even use them ( Ye-hes! I do!!)
It doesn´t matter if I use them for writing down ideas, grocery lists, writing down important stuff… I always use my notepads / books, journals so they´re never a wasted investment.

Today, while snooping on FB, I spotted a post from a dear friend of mine, a book cover designer, and noticed she was promoting journals. EXCUSE MOI?! That got my bad habit´s attention.

As of now- Cover Me Darling isn´t just doing book covers, she´s also creating journals!! YIPPIE! I have always loved the style from Cover Me Darling. It´s simple, it´s modern and it´s a JOURNAL, for crying out loud!

Look at how pretty they are…. I´m so in love.

marisa-feather marisa-blue

These are just 2 from 4 available. ( woop!)

My loving, caring husbands voice ( I barely heard him speak although he was 3 feet away from me ) told me to stay strong and not order it, I did it anyways and will have a new addition to my already large collection of journals! After I clicked the oder button my oh-so loving husbutt called me Gollum. You know- from The Lord of The Rings?

gollum

( My husbutt isn´t getting dinner tomorrow )

If you´re interested in purchasing one of the 4 beauts yourself just go on over to Amazon and order! You have my blessing ( said the addict ).

Order your journal here!

marisa

Look for Cover Me Darling on Facebook and check out what Marisa Shor has in store for you!

My Bookworm Box Arrived!

I´m going to mark my calendar today because, at last, I got my very first Bookworm Box. Oh, yes. After 29 long days of harrassing the mailman he finally showed up with a purple package full of book stuff just for me!

This is my first go with The Bookworm Box. To be honest- I´ve been wanting to subscribe and get a box for almost a year now but I constantly forgot it ( I swear, if my head wasn´t screwed on…. )

Anyways- It arrived today and the first thing I had to do was hide the package.

You see, I have 2 girls ( 5 yrs and 9 yrs) and color matters for my girls. It plays such an important roll in their lives. Anything purple, pink or neon is accepted. They´re also master thieves and can be vicious little witches when it comes to mommy´s stuff. Opening a purple box infront of them would cause a small war.

bookworm1

For 6 painful hours I waited for them to go to bed so I could open “the purple box” a.k.a “Mommy´s Box”.

It felt like Christmas and my birthday when I lifted the lid. WOOT WOOT! And I had the time of my life combing through all the goodies inside ( alone, not wanting my husband to witness my awrkward book celebration moment. Video of that moment can be seen here)

bookworm2

The package was filled with:

  • swag ( from authors: Marcia Boudreaux, Golden Czermak, Angela Corbett, Erin Noelle, Ophelia London, Lindsay Emory, Alexandra Haughton, Gabbie S. Duran, Kim Carmichael, Jodie Larson, Sabrina York)
  • swag from The Bookworm Box ( keychain, bracelet, and a pen)
  • 2 signed paperback copies ( Ready to Fall by Daisy Prescott, Unwritten by Chelsea M. Cameron)

Seriously- I´m a happy camper! I always welcome swag in any form and having signed paperbacks is like winning the Jackpot for me.

 

All in all- not a bad deal for $ 39.99. The Bookworm Box is about spreading the good, so 100% of the profit after overhead costs are donated to different charities each month.Which is in my opinion a good thing. It´s actually a win / win / win  situation. Authors are happy about the word being spread, readers receive great swag + signed copies plus charity is involved. Awesome stuff, if you ask me.

 

I can fully recommend purchasing a package from The Bookworm Box

.download

Visit The Bookworm Box and get a package yourself here.

Now it´s time for me to do some serious book shopping on Amazon.com. and become as poor as a church mouse within minutes!