Friday, August 9, 2013

Book Blogger Hop #30 (8/9 - 8/15): Books you said you would review, but.....

Welcome to the new
Book Blogger Hop,
hosted by Billy @
He took over this hop from
Jennifer @ Crazy For Books.
I'm so glad he decided to
continue with this weekly feature!
For more information, click HERE.

What to Do

1.) Post on your blog answering this week's

If you don't like a book that
you said you would review,
do you graciously
turn it down and explain why,
or do you struggle
through it and hopefully come up
with a half-decent review?

2.)  Enter the link to your post in the
Linky list on Bill's blog.

3.)  Visit other blogs on the list and
comment on their posts. 

4.)  Be sure to find out next week's
question when you visit Bill's blog!

My Answer

This is a more difficult situation, I think, than the one presented last week, although I alluded to it then.

Back in the days before I put up my Review Policies/FTC Disclosure page, I received, on two separate occasions, books directly from authors, which I promised to review.  Both were from Indie authors. 

One of the books was sent to me by email, as a PDF document.  Now, I don't like to read e-books, or books in PDF format.  Plus, I didn't like the plot or characters in this one.  I didn't know what to I put off letting the author know that I didn't like the book, and wasn't going to review it.  I never did get back to that author, and felt terrible about it.  I imagine they got the message....

The other book was a very enjoyable read, and it was a printed book.  It was a middle-grade fantasy.  Normally, I don't read such books, but I really liked this one, and gave it a very favorable review.

Ever since I started participating in blog tours, things have changed.  I do feel bad if I receive a printed book from a publisher or publicist for review, and don't like said book.  The difference now is that I'm not dealing directly with the author, so even if I feel some guilt at rejecting a book I've already received, it's not as overwhelming.  Besides, attempting to struggle through a book is not my idea of what reading should be all about.  

There have been three occasions in which I've had to contact the tour company to let them know I couldn't review a book, because I simply couldn't get through it.  I have also explained why. 

The first book was horrendous; the plotting was very choppy, the characters completely flat, and the spelling, grammar and writing style abysmal.  I loved the cover, but that was it.  The book was written by an Indie author.

The second book was obviously written by a competent author, although the novel was a debut, and published by a major publisher, too.  The style was poetic and beautiful, with no mistakes at all.  The characters were fleshed out, and very likeable.  In this case, there was something in the story which I found morally offensive.  So in spite of this novel's beauty, I simply could not go on reading it.

The third book was not as poetically written as the second one, and was by another Indie author.  The main character was all right, although nothing exciting, either.  But what really got to me was the amount of graphic violence in the plot.  It was just sickening....  I do read books with battle scenes in the plot from time to time.  Heck, I've read The Lord of the Rings, which definitely contains such scenes!  Tolkien doesn't go into detailed descriptions of injuries sustained on the battlefield, though.  So I couldn't read this third book, either.

In all three cases, after contacting the publicist for the tour company and explaining my reasons for turning down the review, I offered to return the book to them, at my expense.  The publicist always told me that it wasn't necessary.  Of course, I felt really bad about that....but I simply can't push myself to read a book that I totally dislike, either.

This doesn't mean that I've never written a negative review; I certainly have.   Paradoxically, these have been about books that were not so unpleasant to read that I couldn't finish, and then review them.  I prefer to write positive reviews, though, for the simple reason that I don't like to struggle through a book I totally dislike.  And I do mention negative things about books I basically like.  In such cases, I will give the book three or four stars, but never five.

What do you think of
my answer?
How do you deal with
this situation?


  1. I guess through experience you come to know how to handle these kinds of situations. It seems that you finally have your rhythm going. I know that there are still going to be times that you'll feel guilty for not reviewing the book, but you can't force yourself such agony.

    I am slowly learning my way through this reviewing business; luckily I haven't really found a book that I've absolutely detested. Yes, there have been a few "eh" books, but I could get through these.

    1. Hey, Vonnie!

      Oh, it does take some time to get to the point where you "finally have your rhythm going"! I like the way you put it! And I also like that you refer to reading a book you don't like as "agony". That's exactly what it is! Lol.

      I would have to go back through my reviews. I don't think I've encountered too many "eh" books. Usually, I either like a book or I don't. However, there HAVE been some books that I've liked quite a bit, except for one or two things that bothered me.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting!! : )

  2. I turn down for morally offensive as well. I had that happen to me, and the author was fine about it.

    TERRIFIC answer...thanks.

    Don't read any books this weekend that you don't like. :)

    Happy Hopping!!

    Silver's Reviews
    My Blog Hop Answer

    1. Hi, Elizabeth!

      You know, I think that's an excellent reason for turning down a book. It's just impossible for me to continue reading a book with such a problem. Others might not see it as a problem, but I do, and you do as well. Good for you!!

      Thank you so much for your compliment!! And I promise I won't read any books I don't like this weekend. Lol.

      Happy Hopping to you, as well!! Thanks for the visit and the comment!! : )

  3. I'm kinda getting the feeling you don't like indie authors by the way you differentiate in your answer between authors and indie.

    I always try to finish a book. However I've never come across one I completely disliked. It's something I dread. Although I think contacting the author and explaining is a good way to approach the situation. I think that's what I would do too (even if it makes me cringe and feel guilty)

    1. Hi, there!

      Well, it's sad but true....books by Indie authors DO tend to have some issues. It's not that I dislike authors just because they publish independently. One of the problems I've encountered with quite a few such books is the TERRIBLE editing, or COMPLETE lack thereof. For instance, common, everyday words -- not obscure ones that might not be common knowledge -- are misspelled. Also, words that sound the same are confused. Things like, "There friends didn't like the pizza", "My left heal is hurting", using an apostrophe where there's no need for one, like "She looked at the dress and thought it's color was horrible", and so forth. (These authors tend to confuse the contraction IT'S, which is the union of two words -- IT IS, and DOES need an apostrophe, with the possessive adjective ITS, which does NOT need an apostrophe. This type of thing is elementary!)

      The above sentences are not actual examples, since I don't have the books in front of me right this minute, but these are the types of errors I've encountered. When you're reading a book, and you come across such things, they take you right out of the story. Well, at least that's what happens to me.

      So I really have problems with editing issues in regards to Indie books. But there are other problems as well. Sometimes the writing style is atrocious. Also, a book can be very badly plotted, with flat characters. The dialogue might also be terrible. Maybe it doesn't flow in a natural way.

      I do like to give Indie authors a chance. The second book I mentioned above, which was a middle-grade fantasy, was GREAT! And look at the case of Amanda Hocking. Unfortunately, I think these are the exceptions rather than the rule.

      I always try to finish a book, too. The problem is that sometimes it's just too painful! Lol. As for contacting an author directly, thankfully I don't have to do that anymore!

      Thanks for the visit and the thought-provoking comment!! : )

    2. I get where you're coming from (also suspect you might be a grammar nazi :) ) However editing issues are common in not only indie books. One of my friends is always finding (or trying to find) such mistakes in books . He's found some in Game of Thrones and some in the Percy Jackson books.

      I' guess I think books in general are either good or bad and not necessarily indie books being a problem.

      To each their own I guess. Thank you for the thoughtful reply and checking out my reviews. Sincerely.

    3. Quite honestly, I don't like this comment at all.

      First of all, the term "grammar Nazi" is very offensive to me, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way. Historically, the Nazis are known for their brutality to the Jewish people, as well as other groups who fought against their ideas. You cannot claim ignorance regarding this, since this subject is covered in school history classes, and even in some elementary school classes.

      If you think I'm exaggerating, please check out the definition of "grammar Nazi" at the link below. You will see that the use of this term is in very poor taste.

      Second, your comment is obviously intended as a put-down. You are trying to make it seem that my opinion of Indie books is an extreme one, when such is not the case.

      Mistakes can indeed come up in books published by major publishers. However, they're not as common as they are in Indie books. I am not exaggerating anything here. This is a known fact.

      The mistakes I pointed out in my first reply to you should NEVER appear in books written by speakers of English born in the United States, England, or in any other country in which English is the major language.

      Authors are supposed to be knowledgeable about the language they're writing in, whatever it may be -- English, Spanish, French, Japanese, or whatever. That's just part of being a writer, as well as a professional. Expecting this is not an exaggeration or a rigid "policing" of the rules of grammar, as you have implied. Instead, this expectation is a totally normal one. Readers have every right to expect excellence in writing from an author who wants his or her work read and valued.

      If you wish to post comments on my blog in the future (not that I'm looking forward to any), please refrain from using offensive and/or hyperbolic language for the purpose of criticism.

      I am open to criticism if it's done courteously, in a non-offensive manner.

      If you are unable to comply with the above, I would very much appreciate your not commenting on this blog again. If you do post any more inappropriate comments, you may be sure that they will be deleted.

      You have been warned.

    4. I am sincerely sorry if you feel offended.
      It was not intended as a put down.

    5. Okay, I believe you. The term "grammar Nazi" is indeed a very offensive one, though, and I was totally shocked when I saw it in your comment. So I sure hope I never see it again on this blog!

      For the record, I have nothing against Indie authors. But I have read quite a few such books, and found errors similar to the ones I've mentioned, Whenever I come across something like this, it always takes me right out of the story.

      You can check out my reviews of five independently published books: "Charade", and "Tirade", by Cambria Hebert, and "Captured", "Renegade", "Refugee", by Erica Stevens. As you will see, I do enjoy reading Indie books, if they're well-written, with great plots and characterizations.

      If I were to submit a manuscript for publication, I would make sure it had no errors. Also, there are independent publishers such as CreateSpace, with their own editors, who can certainly make sure that manuscripts are published with as few errors as possible. Sometimes, though, it's not the editor who's at fault, but the writer. There are writers with terrible writing skills.

      Anyway, I accept your apology! Thank you for posting it -- I really appreciate it!! : )

  4. I hadn't even thought about that, but I do feel guilty when I don't like a print book that was sent to me because they spent money on it! Thanks for sharing, I hope you have a great weekend!
    My Friday Post
    Juli @ Universe in Words

    1. Hi, Juli!

      Yeah, I've always had that problem, whether the book was sent to me directly by an author, or through a blog tour company.... The thing is, a rejection is a rejection, and these books are the authors' "babies". I know I would be very sensitive to my book being rejected, as well.

      Well, that's the way the publishing world works....

      You're very welcome for the share! Hope you have a great weekend, too!!

      Thanks for the visit and the comment!! : )

  5. I do write negative reviews

    1. Hi, Ann!

      Oh, I do as well! I've done so mostly for books I've bought, though. Although I do feel guilty about turning down a book I've already received, I have to do it, if it's for a blog tour. It will reflect badly on the author if I do a negative review for a tour. What I could do is to review the book AFTER the tour has come and gone. But it's STILL a very painful read....

      Thanks for the visit and the comment!! : )

  6. I also avoid books that are morally offensive. And grammatical errors drive me nuts. I just get too distracted by them to really get into the story.

    Wow, that's really nice that you offer to send back the book. It never occurred to me before.

    Thanks for commenting on my BBH!

    Ashling @ Reading, Writing & Anything but Arithmetic

    1. Hi, Ashling!

      I'm glad you feel as I do! And yes, I do offer to send the book back, if either an author (although I don't get many of those anymore) or a tour company has sent it to me. I do that because I feel bad that I'm rejecting a book they spent money to send me.

      You're very welcome for my comment on your BBH!! And thanks for commenting back!! : )


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