Sunday Sum-Up

11 days left!!! Are you tired of hearing me excitedly ramble on about fall approaching yet? Because I never tire of Halloween, the colors, rainy days and everything pumpkin! Yeah, I am one of those 😉

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This week aside from the usual current reads and quotes, I wanted to touch on a topic that was recently brought to light by another blogger’s review and our discussion that has followed. I hope you do not mind 😉


Protection (no not that kind 😉 )

 

Writing this has made me a tad nervous. While, it is in no form or shape an attack on anyone, it may hit some buttons. But several days and conversations later, this still resonates with me. So I am just going to jump in and try to keep it on the lighter side.

As bloggers and book reviewers, we hold authors in pretty high regard and for great reasons. It is after all, our love of reading and books that has brought us here. We respect the fact that countless hours and hard work have been poured into the titles we read, love and dissect. Authors rock!

Sometimes however, we stumble across or are even handed titles that just are not what we expected as the reader. We can be faced with that daunting task of writing a review that is less than stellar. It sucks, but we have made a commitment to our followers to provide honest, and unbiased opinions on the titles we share and review. Our blogs are our voices. The majority of us try to do this without ever attacking or tearing down an author directly. It would be poor form and unfair. We are not reviewing authors.

So what happens when we write a review that does not sit well with the author? While we work hard to remain true to our own thoughts and still respect the fact that this book is still someone’s heart and soul, who protects us, as the reviewer? What happens when a simple review turns into an unwelcome showdown or awkward confrontation? When do we decide that a professional line has been crossed?

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Authors, have a lot of pull within the book community. Rightfully so! They are the driving force behind all we do. Negative push back can be overwhelming, hurtful and a major threat to our blog. Making the decision to stand up for our review can entail a mess that many of us would rather avoid. We cannot (well should not) out an author publicly. Doing so would be tactless and bring forth many unfavorable consequences.  So how do we handle those rare and less than desirable moments when we are faced with challenging encounters?

Sometimes, these challenges can even come in other forms. Having to refuse a request to review titles can present issues. For example, I was recently spammed many times after having tried to politely turn away a title because I do not read that genre. It can begin to feel very uncomfortable, having to repeatedly decline a request. No means no, but I do not like being rude. I appreciate the enthusiasm of trying to promote a new novel. But we all have personal boundaries and sometimes they are crossed. Does deleting repetive emails after so long, without response make me a horrible person? We post our own guidelines, but they are sometimes overlooked.

While it is unwritten, we do agree to put ourselves out into the open when we begin blogging. We are welcoming feedback, and know that it will not always be positive. Reviewing is rough. We expect a certain amount of criticism. We are stating and comparing thoughts that not everyone will agree with. We rely on the community to maintain a civil environment, but that community is not just composed of other readers.

So I have really been stewing on this one simple question: How do we protect ourselves and the right to provide honest reviews without crossing the lines that can be detrimental to our blogs or viewed as unprofessional?

Just some food for thought..

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Current Reads

Okay then, back to the easier stuff 🙂 My reads for the week include:

throne-of-glass

Throne of Glass
By Sarah J Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Goodreads Blurb:

“In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.”

This title is no stranger to many of you. Sarah J Maas seems to have acquired a mass following. Being a huge fan of fantasy, I decided it was finally time to jump in the pool and see why my feed is constantly flooded with her books!

apothecary
The Apothecary’s Curse 
By Barbara Barnett
Publisher: Pyr (Ebook expected date 10/11/16)

Goodreads Blurb:

“This genre-bending urban fantasy mixes alchemy and genetics as a doctor and an apothecary try to prevent a pharmaceutical company from exploiting the book that made them immortal centuries ago.

In Victorian London, the fates of physician Simon Bell and apothecary Gaelan Erceldoune entwine when Simon gives his wife an elixir created by Gaelan from an ancient manuscript. Meant to cure her cancer, it kills her. Suicidal, Simon swallows the remainder—only to find he cannot die.

Five years later, hearing rumors of a Bedlam inmate with regenerative powers like his own, Simon is shocked to discover it’s Gaelan. The two men conceal their immortality, but the only hope of reversing their condition rests with Gaelan’s missing manuscript.

When modern-day pharmaceutical company Transdiff Genomics unearths diaries describing the torture of Bedlam inmates, the company’s scientists suspect a link between Gaelan and an unnamed inmate. Gaelan and Genomics geneticist Anne Shawe are powerfully drawn to each other, and her family connection to his manuscript leads to a stunning revelation. Will it bring ruin or redemption?”

This was a NetGalley discovery that simply appealed to my sci-fi/fantasy side. I am excited to see how this turns out.


Quotes of The Week

Quotes this week are being pulled from two recent titles: The Wolf Road: A Novel by Beth Lewis & In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware.

“You can’t admit to someone else what you’re too damn afraid to admit to yourself.”
― Beth Lewis, The Wolf Road

“…shiny trinkets and frivolous spending make people forget what world they’re living in.”
― Beth Lewis, The Wolf Road

“You been walking my wolf road all your life, Elka girl, clawing and biting right on mmy heels, begging for scraps and teaching and I gave ’em both. I gave you everything you’d ever need to walk right alongside me. You and me Elka, we’s twin flames, remember. Even if I ain’t living nor more, you ain’t never gonna be rid of me.”
-Beth Lewis, The Wolf Road

“People don’t change,” Nina said bitterly. “They just get more punctilious about hiding their true selves.”
― Ruth Ware, In a Dark, Dark Wood

“There was something strangely naked about it, like we were on a stage set, playing our parts to an audience of eyes out there in the wood.”
― Ruth Ware, In a Dark, Dark Wood


Happy Day before Monday! Here’s to one last day of rest (well for some of us).

Cheers,

Danielle ❤

17 thoughts on “Sunday Sum-Up

  1. Well that’s a fun filled gif and a lovely pair of pumpkins if I do say so! 😂

    Best I don’t comment on the rest as I can spit venom and acid in a foul mouthed diatribe when I want to but if someone didn’t respect me I wouldn’t care if it was detrimental to my blog or not I’d post a diatribe and rip them a new one. Everyone is allowed their own opinion so why shouldn’t we stand up for our review, it’s our opinion and we are allowed are own opinion, free speech and all that.

    One of my recent reviews wasn’t favourable to a book, I didn’t like it, I explained in the review why not and wrote to me a well rounded review, I understand if the author takes offence to a poor review as they have put effort into their book but at the end of the day we have to be honest as a reviewer if we did or did not like the book and the author while annoyed shouldn’t be a baby and get in a strop over it with the blogger as it’s the bloggers own opinion which in turn makes it valid.

    Also, going back to the book I didn’t particularly like, I’m on a mailing list and had been sent it by a publisher not an indie author but when I emailed the publicist the review link I told them I hadn’t liked the book and why, etc and you know what, after they’d read the review, they told me that they want honest reviews be them good or bad so they know what works, is good, bad, etc.

    Sorry, I ended up moaning. 😂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I found the “moaning” beneficial and entertaining 😉 You make very valid points. No one can dispute another’s opinion, as that is what it is. I love when publishers and authors welcome all feedback (good or bad). It shows a certain level of commitment that I can really appreciate. I have always found your reviews to be in good taste. Can’t see how anyone could complain too much. What can they say? That they are upset you did not like the book? I do agree that taking the extra step to follow up with the publisher regarding your review is best. I have several who mail me as well, and I always try to follow up with an email including any notes on the review I feel are needed 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I adore Elvira, and Halloween, too! The only problem I ever had was from a Children’s picture book author. Heh heh. He actually threatened me openly on Goodreads in the comments on my review. It was scary because the review copy came from him and he had my home address. I also had a person send me a PM on Goodreads saying I shouldn’t have posted a two star review for this one author because the author suffers from anxiety and depression, and she might see my review. Great post. Very thought provoking. Have a wonderful new week. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Ugh, that sounds like a stressful ordeal! Pretty lame indeed and I am not sure why you would send review copies if you could not handle being “reviewed”. I am seriously curious to know how you resolved that in a calm and productive manner. I may have lost my cool after a bit on the threat! You have a fantastic week as well 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I told the author’s publicist to take a look at his threat before I deleted his comment so she would know why I was not going to be accepting review copies straight from her authors any longer. She said she was going to have a talk with him. Personally I think she should have dropped him as a client, but I guess money rules. One mistake I made that another blogger pointed out was I should have reported it to Goodreads, but then again, if he was banned from GR he may have gotten even madder. 😛

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Argh! I just wrote a really long comment and my internet cut out!

    It’s a difficult question to answer. I guess balance is important when writing a review. Be honest and state your opinion as we’re all entitled to…but be fair too. Don’t simply criticize something, criticize something and have evidence to justify that criticism. When I write reviews, I use what we call the PEE chain here in English classes in the UK. It stands for point, evidence and explain. I think it’s a good way of showing your criticisms are justified. It’s a system that hasn’t failed me yet, but I’m very new to book reviewing so it might fail at some point 😛

    When I was working as an English teacher, I would always try to offer one positive point for every two negative points I made. It’s something that would soften a student’s defensive reaction when faced with criticism and it’s maybe something that could work well in reviews. An author might think “Oh she didn’t like this character…but she thought that plot twist was awesome!” I don’t know yet. Honestly, being so new to the book blogging community I have yet to feel the wrath of a disgruntled author.

    To be honest, though, I’ve never read any of your reviews and thought “That’s a bit harsh” or “That’s out of line”. I think you write great reviews!

    Anyway, I’m rambling a bit. I’m pleased you’re reading Throne of Glass! Fantastic series that I’ve yet to finish 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Jazz! I always try to keep it non-personal and follow up with any positive notes I can to avoid any undue harshness. I never want an author to feel “attacked” since it is the book I am reviewing, not them. occasionally though you may run into those awkward moments when someone just does not like what you have posted and tackle it in an incorrect manner. I really like the idea of one positive point for every two negative though! *making mental note* I hope you never feel the “wrath” and I hope this post is not viewed negatively. I feel like they are legit concerns, but I am also very aware that one example of bad behavior does not represent all 😉 I will keep you updated on GoT ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  3. You make some valid points!
    You are completely right when you say we are putting ourselves out there with our reviews and inviting feedback – which may be good or bad. In the end authors are doing the same. I’m in the process of writing a pretty negative review right now. I really disliked this book. There where moments when it frustrated me to brink of tears. Still, in my review, I will try to keep my personal feelings out of this as much as possible. This may sound weird, because of course our reviews are always personal and subjective. What I mean is I will try to stay level-headed and rational when I write this review. It would be easy to just let my frustration take over and curse this book into oblivion, but that would also be incredibly unprofessional. Instead I will focus on what I didn’t like about this book and why – rational reasons. I think that’s very important when writing negative reviews. – remaining professional. The same goes for dealing with criticism.
    And since I’m expected to remain professional in my reviews and in dealing with criticism for them, I expect authors to do the same.
    Authors can either take the (negative) reviews, use them as constructive criticism, focus on improving their writing and move on or act like a child throwing a temper. If the reaction is the latter though, I will stop taking them seriously.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Agree 100% with everything you have said here. We are all expected to remain professional. And for the majority of the time this community is. It is sad when the rare occurrence of the opposite happens.

      I do understand just how challenging negative reviews can be though.. I had one shortly after I started that had me pulling at my hair. Looking back, I could have done it much better (I also could have done much worse). But we learn as we go. And yes, we can only give the respect we receive in return 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Excellent post!! I agree 100% with everything you said and 99% with everything that has been said in the comments :D. I try to keep my temper at bay while writing a negative review, but don’t always succeed ;). As long as I’m not attacking or addressing the author personally (unless it’s with positive feedback) then I think it probably shouldn’t matter anyways. We can never be 100% objective because every story gives different types of feelings to everyone. If you want to be 100% objective, you get a very technical review which might be interesting to publishers but certainly not to the general reader. As for the negative reactions from authors: I’ve had my fair share. If they actually make a valid argument, I’m always willing to edit certain things, but if it’s just throwing a fit about how I “didn’t understand their book!”…yeah, screw that. I once put a sound cloud file in one of my reviews which is basically just a bunch of people coughing up phlegm. It was because the author had mentioned something about it in his book and I thought it would add a humorous note to it. The thing is, not everyone has the same sense of humour ;). And not everyone can laugh about silly gifs being added to a review. That’s fine, but the only way I would change any of that is when I don’t feel like doing that anymore. Not because someone else is pouting over it. Grow a pair I say!

    Well, that feels rather incoherent and still not addressing the main topic you’re speaking of here :’). We need a way to help each other out without offending someone or getting negative feedback for being honest!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Anne!!! Great point about technical writing. Also another great point about the use of gifs and extras. If I feel like using them, I do. They are our reviews! And definitely, not everyone shares or can appreciate humor so it can be interpreted wrong 😔we definitely need a way to come together or reach for support if we experience negative pushback for our reviews! As always, you totally get it! I am really happy with the response this post has received. It helps to know other bloggers understand the concern.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I try to be vigilant when writing a negative review. I know in real life I can be ahum blunt in my criticism so I really try my best and also say what was still positive about the book. I haven’t received any feedback yet from an author who’s not happy but I won’t change a letter either way. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. I haven’t had authors insisting either (I’m afraid I don’t even always reply to their mails) but if they are so insistent I wouldn’t even want to read it anymore. I don’t think you did anything wrong just deleting the mails. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Inge! Great response, and I always find that your reviews are honest but in good taste. I have never read one and felt like you were attacking the author or ripping a book to shreds.

      I felt bad hitting delete, but what can you do after so many times? 😉

      Like

  6. I have to admit I’m someone who deletes multiple requests for book reviews without any guilt, after all this is a hobby not a job. I have to admit that while I keep my negative reviews ‘professional’ I do write them, not many but a fair few, and I haven’t been blacklisted or received unfavourable feedback from the author or publisher – I think everyone understands that no book is for everyone and my opinion is just one of many in the vast book blogging community

    Liked by 1 person

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