Friday, November 22, 2013

Don't Trust My Book Reviews

I'm doing something I haven't done in the four years I've been blogging. In the over 1,000 posts every single one has been original. Welllll, this week it's time for a first. I'm reposting. But it's an older blog. Maybe one you haven't read or don't remember. (I'm counting on that anyway. ;-) Thanks for understanding, it's just been one of those weeks! 

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I probably just gave all the publishers I review for a coronary.

Wait...stop, let me back up and explain. ;-)

I've gotten several emails lately asking me if I would help in the craft of their book reviews. Of course, this thrills me, because I love to help as I have been helped--but it also brings an interesting topic to mind--because, well, that is just where my brain goes. ;-)

When I started exploring the great wide world of blogs, I stumbled across this amazing phenomenon, called "reviewing books". Imagine promising to ONLY write a review and getting a free book. Well, golly, this was just pretty dandy.

I had one reviewer I avidly followed. I religiously studied her reviews, got excited when she did about a new book and my list for the bookstore steadily got longer and longer.

Then one winter, I got a windfall. What better way to spend it?!? I took that list of top recommendations from that reviewer and bought several titles on the list.

Promptly brought them home, very excited...and didn't like a one.

Okay, I shouldn't exaggerate, I liked a couple and the other got the "she thought this was good??" look.

It wasn't that the books were poorly written--they just weren't for me.

I learned that reviewer and I have no reading tastes in common. What I hated, she thought hung the moon and what I loved, she couldn't gag down.

And that's okay. Because there is an audience that likes exactly what that reviewer loves to read.

So I had to reinvent the wheel and eventually found Joy from Edgy Inspirational fiction. I started borrowing the books she recommended from the library. And 9 out of 10 times, I LOVED them. Like go-get-me-more LOVED it. I've bought books based on what Joy loves, knowing there is a huuuuge (like 99.9999%) chance I'll love it too.

Which brings me to my post title today. DON'T go out and buy (or not buy) a book based on my review. If you are new to my reviews, wait around a little bit, see what else I review. Do we share the same love of certain authors?

Does what I review and what I say in my reviews strike a cord with you?

Have you tried a couple titles and see if we agree?

We are not going to agree all the time--frankly I'd be scared if that were the case. ;-) (JK)

You will actually be doing the author a FAVOR if you are new to my reviews or unsure, if you DON'T go out and buy their book--see what others are saying first and then make your final decision. If you don't like it, the negative word of mouth will certainly not be helpful.

So, please don't trust my book reviews. Not, at least, until you've gotten to trust me and see if you and I like the same fiction. ;-)

So...question, do you think we like the same fiction? Have you ever been satisfied with a purchase or borrowing made, based on my recommendation?


  1. Often I would say we don't enjoy the same books, you often review books set in the past, it is rare that I find one with that type of setting I enjoy. I do enjoy reading your posts though. Even though we are at very different stages of life I often benefit from the devotions you post on occasion. Also, there are times you review a book that I will enjoy.

    1. What setting do you like to read, MaryAnn? Contemporary maybe? You have me curious now. ;-) And I'm glad you come by and enjoy the posts. Thank you! :)

  2. I think we are kindred spirits. ;) I love your reviews and recommendations.

    Oh--and recycling is a good thing!

    1. You're awesome. And I love that line from Anne of Green Gables. ;)

  3. For sure, I think we read lots of the same books. Although I think you read heavier on the romance side than I do. I would say the area where we are pretty much readalikes is historicals. To me they are often the most relaxing reads.

    1. You read a lot of women's fiction, yes? I love to read that genre, but only about one a month or so, since they tend to be much heavier and require more thinking energy. ;)

  4. This is a post well worth re-running once or twice a year. It's a good reminder to your blog readers -- and to readers of other book reviewers' blogs.

    1. Thanks, Beth! I've thought about running a small course on writing book reviews, but wasn't sure what the response might be...

  5. LOL ... LOVE THIS, CASE!!!

    Heck, I don't even trust MYSELF!! I stumbled upon a REALLLLLY fabulous historical romance trilogy by a Christian author I didn't know, and FELL IN LOVE with her writing. I promptly went online and tried to buy every book she wrote, feeling fairly safe that after three books, I KNEW she was good.

    Uh, not necessarily. Tried to buy her prior series (6 books) and I was soooo ticked that I could only find book 1 and book 6 as the rest were out of print. So I only bought book 1 and THANK GOD!! It was AWFUL!! One of the few books I could not finish.

    I then realized that this gal had 6 books to get it right in that second series, which made promise myself I would never buy more than one book at a time, no matter HOW MUCH I like the author. :)


    1. Ain't that the TRUTH! I did that with a new author recently. LOVED his 2012 release and not so much the 2013 or the older one I got. Fortunately though I have just traded or asked to review those books, so I haven't put money out. It can be so disappointing to find a great new-to-us author and then be disappointed in their other releases. I love it when I find that author that I love everything they've written. ;)

  6. I definitely agree about finding a reviewer that has a lot of the same book interests you do. It's true that some reviewers, although having excellent review writing skills, do not have the same taste in fiction that you have. I keep a blog list on Feedly of the reviewers' blogs that I regularly visit.

    Now, another subject to address is author endorsements. I have read a few books thinking I would love them because of the authors who gave glowing endorsements. The book was not a favorite at all! I guess I expect the author voice of the book I'm reading to be similar to the voices of the authors who are endorsing the work. If the author giving the endorsement writes "edgy" I expect the contents of this book to be likewise. Do you think I have unreasonable expectations?

    1. Hello Sylvia! This is true. ;) Sometimes you find the best reviews come from those you share strong taste preference with and then watch for those new-to-you authors that the reviewer either likes or dislikes.

      As for author endorsements, it used to be that you were very picky about who endorsed your book: ie: same genre, writing style, voice, etc. It makes it hard to get a good endorsement! That isn't to say that endorsements aren't valuable anymore, but instead it involves more taste on the part of the author endorsing. I don't so much look at endorsements anymore for similarity between the authors I love and the author they are endorsing-- I'm looking more for what they said about the book. Is the endorsement more generic or glowing? Do I like to read other books this author has endorsed? THAT last one carries the most weight. Especially when I see a book that has a well known author endorsing that you KNOW doesn't endorse that many books. :)

  7. I absolutely have requested books after reading one of your reviews! I have not been disappointed yet :) Plus, I love reading your other blog posts and seeing your heart for Christ!

    1. Ahh, you're awesome Anne! We do have very similar taste in reading. Makes it fun to share books! :) BTW, have you read Ronie's latest releases yet? I STILL have not read Trinity! ARGH!!


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According to new FTC rules I must let you, the reader know, that all views shared on this blog are strictly my own. Books to review are either provided for me by the author, publisher or ones I have purchased and I am under no obligation whatsoever to present anything, but my true opinion on any product. I receive no monetary compensation for anything written on this blog. Any giveaways on this blog are provided by the author/ publisher and I am not responsible for any views they express in their work or on this site. Giveaways are void were prohibited and chances of winnng are based on the number of applicants. A random winner is draw when a book is given away.

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