Is There An Easier Way To Review Books?

I´ll tell you what – I struggle sometimes with writing reviews. There are days when I can sit down and write a colorful 2K word review for a 300 page standalone. Then I go through phases of painful reviewer´s block. I can´t come up with the right words to express my thoughts or feelings regarding a book.

You´d think I´d have the hang of this review thingy by now. I mean- 10 years should have taught me a trick or two. Weeeeell, it seems like I´m still winging things as I go.

My biggest struggle is review size/length. For some reason, I have this notion that reviews have to be a certain size to be considered a true review. I know, total bullshit. But I can´t help it. It´s like this evil pattern embedded deep in the recesses of my brain. Am I bothered by this? To be honest- Sometimes I am. Writing reviews should be as easy as breathing in air. All you have to do is lay down your opinion and hit that publish button. * sigh *  If only that were true.
During my book blogger years I´ve asked myself the same questions over and over again:

  • Is there an easier way to review books?
  • Should my reviews be lengthy or short?
  • If short, how short? If long, how high should my word count be?

 

This isn´t a matter of being insecure. This is me battling my perfectionist side. Thankfully, I´ve learned that book review size doesn´t really matter.

 

Review length is a matter of personal preference. 

 

It´s a question of how much information a reviewer wants to include in their reviews. Personality, style, emotions, and knowledge. Add all or only add a few. Do whatever the hell you want, right? Right. But there was still one question left unanswered. One I consider a challenge.

Is there an easier way to review books?

Because let´s face it – No one is able to pull a review out of their ass thinking hat. It´s tedious sometimes. And us foot folk don´t get paid for our awesomeness. There has to be a way!

The other day I was making notes in my reading log for my next review when I noticed a little box on the lower left corner. A little feature I have been using all along but never gave much thought about.

smiley

 

A simple rating system. Rate the plot, the characters, and ease of reading. Then to sum everything up you give your overall opinion via smiley.  This doesn´t even take a minute out of our day ( if we allow ourselves to not overthink much and analyze everything ) to do and can also be easily used as book reviews. If you ask me, I think this is brilliant. I´ll tell you why:

  • Some people misunderstand reviews. I know- Unthinkable but true. Some reviews are very wordy and not everyone´s native speaking language is English. I can see why some would have questions.
  • They´re wordless. Sometimes words can hurt. Whether intentionally or unintentionally… there´s bound to be an author hanging on that one word a reviewer used to describe the book/their feelings.
  • Most of the world is familiar with a smiley rating scale– Everyone´s most likely been confronted with a 3 point or 5 point rating scale at a young age so there is a global understanding of what a sad face, a neutral face and a happy face means.
  • They´re quick. Some people take days to write a review. Imagine how much time could be saved by using this system. This would give reviews a whole new meaning and reviewers the chance not to dwell on sentence structure, repetitive words, etc. Plus, using smileys saves time. We live in a fast-moving environment where many of us don´t have enough hours in our day to get things done.
  • They´re spoiler – free. I know many people who don´t read reviews out of fear of bumping into a spoiler. You could avoid any minor or major spoiler by using the smiley rating system.

 

Sounds wonderful, doesn´t it?  For a book blogger, sure. Of course, there´s always a flip side to brilliant things. This system might work wonders but it´s entirely reviewer friendly. We save time. We hardly have work with a review. But what about the consumer? The people who depend or rely on reviews? Future book spoilers aren´t a problem with this system but what about the emotional aspect? That slight push that seals the book purchase deal? Smileys can´t give a reader authenticity. They symbolize emotions. They don´t glow with personality.

So, I guess the idea of using this quick book blogger friendly rating system as reviews is out of the question, huh? Still, wouldn´t it be nice? In an ideal world, we´d be able to use this system AND help the consumer. Sounds so good.

 

Since we don´t live in a perfect world I might as well change the question to:

Is there a more efficient way to write a review that still helps the consumer?

Hmm… Here´s to 10 more years of coming up with an answer!

OR (!!!) I might just test this all out and see how it´s received. Hmm….


 

Let´s chat: What are your thoughts on review size? Which do you prefer to read: long or short reviews? What´s your take on the smileys? I would love to read your thoughts!

 


 

As always, thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed.

 

XO´s

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The Book Blogger Insider Tag

My first book related tag for 2019, y´all! And what better way than to start by giving some book blogger insider insight.

A huge THANK YOU to Norrie @Reading Under The Blankie. I shall give my best and find answers for these Q´s.

Are we ready?  * waiting for the collective war cry reply * I guess we are. * cracking knuckles*


Where do you typically write your blog posts?

Uuhm, at home. At the diningroom table. Because the table is angled in the right position so I can still watch TV. There was a time I tried typing blog posts while sitting on the sofa but…. I always fell asleep. So, the diningroom table it is.

 

How long does it generally take you to write a book review?

I´m going to have to go with Norrie´s answer. Anywhere between half an hour to five months or possibly never.

 

When did you start your book blog?

I started this blog in 2016 but have been blogging for longer than I like to admit.

 

What is the worst thing about having a book blog in your opinion?

If there was a negative side to having a book blog I don´t think I´d have one. Unless I´d be sharing a book blog with an asshole. Then the worst thing would be that asshole.

 

What is the best thing about having a book blog in your opinion?

Definitely the community.

 

What blog post have you had the most fun writing so far?

Hands down- My favorite blog post would be the Spam Box Treasure. I find immense joy in receiving and sharing spam comments.

 

What is your favourite type of blog post to write?

Probably the one´s I haven´t uploaded yet. * insert snort and laugh * I´m very snarky and have no filter so most of my blog posts end up evil and left as drafts. * hiding face * But my fav types of blog posts are the ones where I analyse book titles or cover images.

 

When do you typically write?

At 8 p.m. Right after the girls go to bed. It´s the only time when I have absolute peace and quiet.

 

Do you review every book you read?

Almost. Very few I refuse to review because they´re either too good and whatever I´d say would never do its justice or the book was so horrible I can´t seem to find it in me to waste time typing anything useful.

 

How do you write your book reviews? With a cup of coffee or tea? With Netflix? Cuddled with your fur baby?

I don´t have any fur babies 😦 But I do drink 1 cup of hot chocolate and way too much coke every night and eat a bowl of cornflakes around midnight all while listening to music and keeping one eye on the TV. But listening to music and eating is a must for me while writing reviews.

 

When do you write your book reviews? Right after finishing the books? Two weeks after finishing the book?

Again- Within a few hours up to 5 months or even a year later. It all depends on my mood and what´s on TV or if husbutt has some earthbreaking news to share. Right now I´m on day 3 for 1 review.

 

How often do you post?

In general? Or just reviews? I try to do a minimum of 3 posts a week with 1 being a review post. Everything else is a bonus.

 

Puuh. That was tough. Thanks again, Norrie for nominating me.

I tag EVERYONE to participate in the fun!

Much love,

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10 Funny / Not So Funny Author Memes

Alas! I present you the 10 funny / not so funny author memes. To be honest- I don´t think these are remotely funny ( because I´m a reader and I´m the one who suffers under the evil hands of these vicious people who call themselves caring authors )

From an author´s perspective, these memes might earn a chuckle, a giggle or even a hearty laugh.

Dear authors…. You´re all an evil bunch.

Dear readers… We suffer so much. We should receive free books to ease our suffering.

Dear everyone else… I hope you enjoy the author meme parade!


 

  1. The Six Life Stages Of An Author

I feel like this is something book bloggers can relate to.

what writers do 1

 

 

2. One Day…..

George R. R. Martin? Is that you?  Finish your damn book!!

author meme 6

 

 

3. The Truth Behind The Scenes

And the rest of all those other gems hidden in notebooks shall never see the light of day… EVER.

author meme 3

 

 

4. Kindness Goes A Long Way.

Evil tongues claim that this is true.

what writers do 2

 

 

5. The Grammar Specialists

But most might never know if they´re / their / there shit.

author meme 2

 

 

6. Author Hardships

It´s time to look for a new job if they all look like Leo from the Revenant when a manuscript is accepted…

author meme 5

 

 

7. An Author´s Side Hobby For Their Own Amusement

author meme

 

 

8. A Scary Moment

I truly imagine all authors smiling like that when they figure out the end of their story.

 

author meme1

 

 

9. Demanding Little Artists

So, after being kind to an author and letting them kill off favorite characters… They want coffee and food? Get your own shit, you vicious lot!

author meme 7

 

10. False Interpretation

I used to hate these discussions where people would over analyse phrases or quotes or even normal descriptive details. It is what it is. The curtains were blue, for Heaven´s sake.

 

author meme 4

 

Author´s are a weird bunch we can´t live without. ❤ Cheers to every writer who makes our lives miserable. You are loved despite the deaths you shower us with. ❤


I wish you all a wonderful day! Don´t forget to share the book love!

 

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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.

Ridiculous Book Sex

Alas, a subject I have been dying to write about. A topic that needs further discussion.

Sex in books.

Romance readers want to have a good time while reading. They want the heartache, the sappy moments, etc. If a romance has the whole package, including good sex scenes, then it´s a total win for us readers.

Reality has taught us that sex can be loads of fun ( If done right, of course. ) and reading about it in a book that has a drop-dead-gorgeous male protagonist in it makes the head theater much more fun.

When I´m reading an erotic romance I´m literally waiting for a good sex scene with great sex. You know- the mind-blowing kind. The kind of sex in books that take a reader to a complete new level of horniness. I´m not talking about reading a porn….I´m referring to a romance / erotica novel that has sex in it. ( okay….maybe erotica novels come pretty close to porn, or not. What do I know?!)

In my opinion – reading about sex cannot be compared to pornography because… Well, characters in books have background stories and go through emotional highs and lows. Porn doesn´t. Although, my husband disagrees with me on that one. Just the other day he tried to convince me that porn movies have an actual plot. * Hangs head * Romance novels keep it real to a certain extent.

ANYWAYS…. Back to book sex:
I bow before any author who writes about sex. Period. I cannot imagine how hard it is to write about 2 people screwing and gushing their feelings for each other. Some authors have so much talent in that department. I often ask myself if those scenes came from personal experience or if it´s just a thought up scene. Imagined. Either way…..I love extremely well written, fully described, sensual, intimate sex scenes in novels. Nothing makes me more happy to know someone put a lot of thought into a scene like that. It´s actually pretty cool if you think about it.

But then there are authors who just write about sex. You know…..the questionable kind. The kind that puts huge question marks on my panties instead of making them change their color.

Now- this is a subject we all can discuss to no end because everyone has a different opinion on what good sex is. Which is fine by me. We all have different tastes, right? I´m not judging anyone if they like to read about any type of bed sports. To each is their own. But in some cases ( no matter what kind of sex I´m talking about) the sex is too much to take in. It´s also almost tacky. Tasteless. 

Authors often over-do it with their sex scenes. I´m not talking about all authors. I´m only referring to 75% of self published writers who include sex in their romances.

I consider myself still young, with being 35. I´m practically living in the best years of my life. But not even I find it sexy to read about characters who screw at every given opportunity. I can´t, by all that´s holy, visualize a sex marathon that goes on and on and on without feeling some sort of mental exhaustion after a while.

You have to keep in mind that I´m 35, not 20. I have a hard time keeping up with fictional characters these days because all they want to do is have sex. Even if I wanted to, I couldn´t have as much sex as book characters have. It´s as if these fictional characters are trying to compete with rabbits.

I know that the stories I read ( especially in the romance/erotica world) aren´t meant to be realistic. Still…..cut me some slack here- At some point, a Heroine has to start walking like John Wayne after she´s been well screwed / shagged / fucked by the sex-God from down the road. I´d definitely need a weeks worth of bed rest if were a female protagonist from any sex loaded novel.

I live in Europe…which means people over here are confronted with sex on a daily basis in a healthy way. Sex is apart of life. No need to shut up about it.   Either people like it kinky, or they don´t. No one is utterly fazed or shocked over here. So, before anyone gives me the ” Prude” stamp- keep in mind that I´m as open-minded as anyone can be. You cannot shock me with sexual acts or dirty talk, or what-not. I just do not appreciate bad / too much sex in a book. That just distracts from the actual plot. Or a terrible dialogue, for that matter.

An author can make their characters as kinky as they want them to be…I still don´t think anyone or anything should have sex 20 times a day, as some authors LOVE to make their characters do. That just…..hurts to think about.

 

And, please, * slamming hands on table, leaning forward, giving the stern look*, what is it with the Dialogue during sex scenes? Has anyone noticed how the majority of romance / erotica heros do the ultimate „ You´re so wet for me“ line?

Or, wait! I got a better one!

“Come for me, baby“  *shaking head* Am I the only one who noticed those two sentences in almost EVERY romance / erotica novel lately?

It´s not the sentences alone that are terrible. It´s the fact that those sentences come up in every damn sex scene. Let´s say characters X and Y are having sex for the first time. And all of a sudden X says: „ Oh, you´re so wet for me.“ Okay. It´s a line that isn´t original, but it´s still okay. If an author believes those words must be included, fine.

When X and Y have sex the second and third time ( in the same night, day, week ), X says the same words to Y. Uuhm… * scratching head * Does Y need a bucket because she´s so wet? Should X fetch the Tupperware just in case?

Obviously, X can´t get over the fact that Y gets wet! Y get´s utterly wet as soon as X touches her! Y is leaking.

And when X commands Y to orgasm ( or better…to come – to cum ) Y magically orgasms. Every single time! Some ladies might find that ” to orgasm ” on command is a hard task to do. But who am I kidding * wave off * I´m thinking way to realistic. What do I know, right?

Let´s rehash-

X is fascinated by the fact that Y gets so wet for him all the time that he needs to announce it.

Y can orgasm on command effortlessly because X is DA SHIT!

Let´s do a real life version of a novel sex scene ( of course, a woman has a few options on how to respond to the magic words)-

Guy: „ oh, Baby….you´re so wet for me.“

Woman: ( option nr. 1 ) „ U-huh.“

Woman: ( option nr .2 ) „ Really? How bad is it down there?“

Woman: ( option nr. 3 ) „ Yeah, I´m so wet for you.“

Or the woman might not give any answer and enjoy what´s bound to happen.

Guy: „ You want to come? Then come, NOW!“

Woman: „ Hold on…I´m almost there…“

Guy: „ No. I want you to come, NOW“

Woman: „ I can´t now. Just keep doing what you´re doing…almost there…“

Guy: ” NOW! Damn it ! N.O.W! Why can´t you orgasm on command?!“

Woman: „ Because I´m NOT  Y from those non-unique sex scenes!!!!“

Do you see my point? A dialogue like that can make whatever feelings I developed disappear into thin air. Poof! Just like that. Gone.

It´s also just as cringe-worthy when the words „moist“ and „cream pie“ are over used. There must be a way to replace those words with something more… fitting? Moist are my kitchen towels after I dry the dishes. And cream pie…. it´s a pie or cake, for heaven’s sake.

And now- while we´re at it… Let us comb through the phrases used in sex scenes. Let´s call it the sex lingo.

Ready?

  • …she tasted like honey…..“ ( I guarantee you, no one tastes like honey down south. Male and female do NOT taste like honey. It´s just a fact. If it were true then you´d be seeing a lot more people going down and having a 3 course meal with „honey“)
  • .. until I finally found her secret center…“ ( A vagina isn´t Narnja. It´s not the rabbit hole that leads to Wonderland. It´s not Barbie´s secret garden, either)
  • …his maleness, passing the petal soft folds of her womanhood…“ ( No vagina lips can be compared to petals. Touch a rose petal then touch vagina lips. It ain´t possible. But touch a turkey´s overlapping skin on his neck and then try touching a vagina. And vagina lips don´t fold. They´re bunched in your underwear. )
  • … I was drowning in her juices…“ ( How many characters are leaking? )
  • …I was blinded as I soared over the edge…“ ( I never went blind before/during/after an orgasm. Maybe I´m doing something wrong? And I never soared anywhere except for the one time when I woke up in the middle of the night and wanted to turn on the bedroom light but missed the wall and switch and went „soaring“ towards the floor. That shit hurt.)

Why compare food and drinks to body fluids? Why not stick to the truth instead of misleading the innocent and giving them weird ideas? Am I thinking too realistic here?

Sometimes people don´t smell like Christmas spices when they pull down their underwear. I can already hear you say „ Eeeeew“ after reading that but it´s true. Any person who´s sexually active KNOWS the dark secrets of sex. And no author has interest in coloring out the harsh reality of event.

Most writers would rather have you believe it´s fabulous to give your partner a blowjob after being on the road for 12 hours with 3 bathroom breaks in between ( without the possibility to wash up..like, at all). There are no rose scents involved there, trust me. Yet, authors will have you believing that the sexual drive between their characters is greater than anything else. They let their characters focus on their lust and ignore the wet fox smell.

As you can probably tell by now, I´ve read some crazy stuff over the last few years and I have a strong feeling that nothing is going to change.

Can we just try to call „his sword“ a penis? Use cock, for all I care….but sword? And how about vagina instead of „where she was moist and desperate“? It´s a vagina. It´s a penis. Either you have one or the other. And maybe it´s a good time to mention that sex is fantastic but sex doesn´t always sell. 

I´m just afraid if young women ( who haven´t had sex yet) read those scenes….they´ll think it´s supposed to be like that in real life. * head against table*

Authors should try to come up with better lines. These people aren´t called artists for no reason. Authors have so many ideas and words to work with…. it should be a piece of cake to come up with something better than „You´re so wet for me.“. It´s really not funny anymore to read the same lines in 80% of all books I read.

This is not meant to discourage writers to include sex in their stories. This is meant to help spark their passion for finding better, more authentic words for their scenes.