Sunday Salon

Saturday, May 8, 2010

First things first, I want to say Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers who are reading this! Also, I just wanted to acknowledge all the women out there who want children but are unable to have them and to those who are still trying, etc. Mother's Day can be rough for some people in this situation and I just wanted you all to know I'm thinking of you too!!

As for reading, mine has been going very slowly lately. The last book I finished was The Postmistress which I will hopefully review soon. That was 5 days ago and I still haven't finished another book. That's frustrating for me! I'm currently reading a book that I have a blog tour for tomorrow so I need to finish it today. I think the main reason I haven't read much is since we got back from Chicago I've been having to catch up on a ton of schoolwork. I spent a couple nights staying up until about 2:00 am putting together a presentation for my human sexuality class on sexual trauma. (Well, the second night I was only up that late because I chose to go to the magic playoff game... but it was worth it). Anyway, I'm really proud of how it turned out! Since I work in the field, I feel really comfortable with all the information I have. But then I didn't even get to present this last week so I have to wait until next week. And I'm back to my crazy busy schedule so I just need to get used to it and get back into reading. I've received a ton of books lately, and tonight we went to Barnes and Noble and I bought The Carrie Diaries so I'm excited about that!!

Okay, there are two quick subjects I want to bring up. I could probably write an entire post on each of these, but I'll just mention them briefly here instead.

Integrity of Reviews
This is sort of geared towards authors and publicists, and I will be adding something about this to my review policy since I just realized I don't say anything about this. I am honest with my reviews. I think that as bloggers we have to be. While I don't like to hurt anyone's feelings, I will be honest in my reviews even if I don't like a book. Readers read this blog and need to know that they are reading my true opinion. I lose respect for bloggers when I start to suspect (by what they say or what they fail to say) that they are not being honest in their reviews because I use people's reviews to determine if I should read a book or not. If another blogger is not going to be honest, I will have to stop reading their reviews. (I am not saying that someone who has mostly positive reviews is dishonest... most of mine are usually positive too!) But along the same line, I also lose respect for authors who get snarky etc. when they read a bad review of their book. I understand it doesn't feel good, but when an author writes a book it's out there for others to read and like or not like. I have one particular author whose books I stopped reading after she left me a rude comment on my review of her book. And recently, I was informed about something that was said by an author, though she didn't leave a comment here. And in all honesty, because I (and most people) say why I don't like a book, I've still had people who say they planned on reading the book anyway. And I feel the same when other people write bad reviews if there reason for disliking the book isn't one that bothers me. So there's that.

The other issue that has bothered me lately is reviews with spoilers. There are a couple reviews I read recently that were laden with spoilers and that *immediately* turned me off from reading any more of their reviews. One of these books was one I've already read so it didn't ruin anything for me, but I would have been upset if I had read it prior. The other review I read was for a book I have on my TBR, and that review spoiled some major plot points/information learned late in the book. When I write reviews, I may babble on for a while about the book, but I try to really not give away much more, if any, of the synopsis than the publisher does. Some people put *spoiler alerts* in their reviews and these are good, although again, I won't read the review so they have to realize that they may be losing a large amount of potential readers for that review. Does this bother anyone else as much as it bothers me??

That's it for today!


Lauren {Geeb} said...

Hi! You just commented on my post about Her Fearful Symmetry and you mentioned that you were talking about negative reviews here on your blog so I popped on over to check it out and I have to agree oh so much on both your points. I am blogging to tell people what I THOUGHT about the book, be that pretty, average, or ugly. I can't be all butterflies and rainbows all the time, because some times the book is more like rotten tomatoes and plague. Sadly I have read like 4 books in a row that I gave negative reviews to. I hate that I have to but I didn't enjoy them so I'm not going to paint a rosy picture.

On Spoilers. I know that every now and then I cross the line of too much information about a book. I really really try not to but once in a while I may let a detail slip that the reader shouldn't have known. I just like to give people enough to intrigue them. But I agree that I can't read some peoples blogs b/c they pretty much just tell you the story.

Thanks for the comment on my blog. I am putting you on my blog roll!

Amanda said...

Sometimes it's hard to write a review without talking about spoilers, especially if you're like me and you talk more about the way the book made you feel rather than what it's about. I try not to put spoilers up, but in the rare case that I do, I white them out altogether and warn people about them. You can only read them by highlighting them, so there's no chance of accidentally seeing them. That seems to have been largely successful for me.

Juju at Tales of said...

Ew! Your reviews are always so honest and tasteful. Poo poo on that author! ;)

I detest spoilers.
I never include spoilers.

You rock!

Juju at Tales of said...

Amanda: I love your highlighting idea! Totally brilliant.

Juju at Tales of said...

PS I love the picture of you reading your ebook. Way cool!

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Very informative post! It is very important to write reviews in such a way that the potential readers can decide if it's a book they'll want to read.

I do write a lot of "positive" reviews, but I've had to do some "negative" ones lately, too. One in particular, which was an Amazon Vine book, had me cringing and hardly able to finish. In my review, I tried to convey this in a way that could be considered constructive, I think. But authors are sensitive, so one never knows how far to go...honestly constructive is a fine line that seems elusive at times.

I don't accept too many books from authors. My policy clearly states my preferences and I have elected NOT to accept books that I think might make me "cringe." For example, paranormal and vampires are not my thing.

Anyway, thanks for the enlightening post.

My salon:

Aarti said...

I am one of those people who is not bothered by spoilers. A book is never ruined for me by knowing what happens next. I just like the way it's written, mainly. I mean, I often peek to the back of the book way before I get there!

And I think I would agree with Amanda. I probably do a lot of spoiling in my book reviews because I talk more about how I feel about the book and its characters than about the plot. But I think people who follow me must know that by now so hopefully I'm not ruining anything for them!

Trisha said...

Integrity - I've never had an author get angry, but definitely have had snarky comments from authors when I didn't glowingly review their book. Passive aggressive type comments that make me feel guilty (even though I know that honesty is a necessity).

Spoilers - I have to admit that I have spoilers in my reviews from time to time. I always set the spoiler apart by book ending it with the words "spoiler alert". I'm more interested in writing responses than reviews, and sometimes it's necessary to have spoilers to get across my thoughts. I will say, however, that I'm very careful when I read other blogs to skim reviews for books I haven't read to make sure the plot isn't revealed in too much detail. said...

I am sensitive about spoilers too; often I won't even read the blurb on the back of the book. :-) That said, I sometimes find it hard to avoid spoilers in my reviews, especially if I'm excited about a book and want to talk about it. :-) But I try hard to include spoilers only rarely and to clearly mark them as such.

I agree with you about negative reviews. As you said, I think the reviewer should include enough information about the book's strengths and weaknesses that a reader can make an informed decision. I haven't yet gotten a snarky comment from an author. I recently got a very nice thank you note from an author whose book I'd given a less than glowing review, thanking me for the thoughtful, honest review and for highlighting the strengths in his writing as well as the things that didn't work for me.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I usually include the blurb from the book in my review and then give my thoughts. If a blurb includes a spoiler I don't post it. When I read a review for a book I hope to read, I read the first and last sentences. They are almost always spoiler-free.
As far as honest reviews, that's unfortunate when authors get snarky. Unless the review was snarky. I only accept review books that I would be tempted to buy. Because of that, my reviews tend to be positive. I will say if something didn't work for me though.

christina said...

I think what is interesting about this and the internal discussion I'm having in my brain is "are my posts review posts or reactionary posts?" I'm still finding my voice, lol a year later, and think that I probably border on the fence of review/react. I try not to give spoilers and if I do, my guess is it's pretty unintentional. Alternatively, I try to remind myself that I started blogging so I could remember what books I read (I am so tired of going, "Oh yeah, I read that! I just couldn't tell you why I LIKED it!"). The dialogue with other bloggers is like the ice cream to the hot apple pie.

Finally - Go Magic. They are kicking butt this season.

Zibilee said...

I really try as hard as I can to eliminate any spoilers from my reviews because I know what it's like to have a book ruined. Sometimes I feel I am more successful than others, but I do really hate to read a spoiler-laden review, so I try not to do it.

I also hate it when I feel that a reviewer isn't honest about their feelings for a book. Book blogs are often my go-to places for recommendations, and I hate it when I am misled by a reviewer to think a book is wonderful when it's really not. I also would be really mad to discover that an author got upset about a negative review I wrote. I have always believed that my reviews represent one opinion out of many, and I want to be free to express myself as I see fit. I have had authors give me hassles about negative reviews before, and when it happens, I always lose a little respect for them. Integrity is critical in book reviews, and I for one, would also stop reading a blog that I felt was not honest.

That being said, I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day!!

Jenny said...

Lauren -- yeah, I do realize sometimes people don't mean to slip but it bothers me when every detail of the plot, beginning, middle, and end, is spelled out, haha!

Amanda -- and I completely agree with putting the spoiler warning... I've never had an issue with any review you've written!

Juju -- haha, thanks (and thanks)!

Laurel -- yeah.. sometimes I'll give books a try even when I know it's not going to be for me, and it usually doesn't work out! disappointing though when I did have high hopes for it.

aarti -- that's cool... I just tend to think most people would care? maybe not! I don't recall having issues with any of your reviews though..

Trisha -- I do feel guilty too to an extent, but 1)we have to be honest when it comes down to it and 2)i think authors could still handle it so much better! I agree with the spoiler warning thing, but I've never felt caught off guard with any of your reviews!

Stephanie -- haha! I'm usually okay with the book blurb b/c I figure all that is what we're supposed to know.. but I've seen "synopses" on amazon that also give way too much info!
As for the author that wrote you that note... wow!! That was very gracious and mature of them! I wish more were like that...

Mary -- I do try to explain it in my own way but stick to the same information learned in the blurb (for the most part)

Christina -- I know what you mean about bordering review/reaction because I tend to do that too... and yay Magic! =)

Heather -- thanks, and happy belated mother's day to you! I don't actually have any kids but had lots of people wish me a happy mother's day this year, lol... as for going to blogs for book reviews, that's pretty much where I get all my recommendations nowadays, lol! And a bad review won't necessarily deter me from the book... I generally try to read a bunch of reviews and then make a decision on my own based on what each person said specifically!

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