Happy New Year.

I cut back on review reads over xmas so I could catch up with some old favourites so I’ve just finished once more Alpha & Omega: A Companion Novella to Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs ready to go through rest of series. I’ve been working my way through JC Andrijeski’s  Allie’s War series too . I also want to reread the fabulous Wolf Within series by Amy Lee Burgess. I’ve started and discarded a few too – I like some romances, but I found several which started promisingly or sounded good from descriptions but I didn’t like. Thankfully they weren’t review books so I could just discard them 🙂 All free or Kindle Unlimited so I didn’t waste money. 

On the subject of reviews: I was taken to task by someone on amazon for leaving a two star review. I’d said it was a well written book but that it just didn’t work for me, and given a few reasons without any spoilers. The person who commented said s/he (pseudonym used) only wrote 5 star reviews and just didn’t post anything less. They said I’d slashed and burned with my inane opinions the book by giving a two star review… ( it’s the one for Icarus Ascending I did a couple of weeks back if anyone’s interested) We had quite a conversation online over whether anything less than 5 stars should be posted, and whether reviews should be objective or subjective. I don’t see how they can be anything other than subjective – I rate on how I personally liked the book, and I know that we all enjoy different things in out reading. I love fantasy but not the Terry Pratchett, David Ediings, Tolkien style whereas son number one loves those and hates my kind of fantasy. What I’d give five stars he’d give two and vice versa. She’s says reviews should be objective always and “ I was taught in college lit courses that the first rule of fiction is the reader never has the right to be lazy.”

This person also disagreed that accepting ARCs meant posting a review if it was less than a five – I see getting ARCs as meaning I will post a review whether I like it or not, unless as has happened maybe 3-4 times I really struggle to connect with the book to the point where my mind switches off and I can’t get past 25%. I try to pick books I think I’ll like but often when its months before release there’s little info unless its part of a series.  I don’t think publishers would be happy if I didn’t review books given for that purpose, and in fact have had thank you emails for my honesty when I’ve posted a two star review – lots of course when they’ve been four and fives!  If I only posted fives I reckon it’d be maybe 30-40% of books, and that’s a lot of ones not posted. So long as I give reasons I don’t see the problem – I’ve bought books with one and two star reviews because what that person didn’t like was what made it a good read for me. That’s what I aim for in giving reasons for why I did or didn’t like a book.

I just don’t see there’d be any point in only five star reviews for anything – books or products, as they’d be meaningless. On the other hand I’ve also had someone say my reviews can’t be taken seriously because its goods or books that I haven’t paid for and therefore I’m bound to be giving a favourable review for everything – if only that person had read a few they’d see its not so, if I find issues with products I certainly make it clear in my review. Ah well – you can please some of the people some of the time and all that…..

Happy New Year to everyone, Happiness, Health and Wealth to you all for 2016

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About jeanniezelos

I'm an avid reader, love my kindle and I have my head in a novel for hours daily : ) Mum used to say I'd read toilet paper if it was printed- it wasn't, so i had to contend myself with the back and sides of the cereal packets. I've always Needed to read and we had few books when i was a child hence my penchant for reading anything including adverts then... I review mainly contemporary, erotic and paranormal romance books though dystopian and urban fantasy also appeal. I'm currently rated around the 300 mark on amazon.co.uk for my reviews. I try to keep them structured and to say what I do and don't like about a book so other readers can use my review as a guide to whether they may enjoy the book.

5 responses to “Happy New Year.”

  1. Jackie Weger says :

    Wishing you and yours a wonderful 2016, Jeannie. I think your reviews are dead on. I laughed when I read this: …”reviews should be objective always and ‘I was taught in college lit courses that the first rule of fiction is the reader never has the right to be lazy’.” Excuse me? The reader has every right to be whatever her or she pleases. How utterly astonishing and what literary arrogance. Our indie book readers are people like you and me. I’m ordinary. I cook, do laundry, take out the trash and clean toilets. I just happen to write romance novels–and they dang sure don’t please all romance readers. I love Mary Smith’s book, No More Mulberries. I was fascinated with the culture and she presented it true. Like you, Julie Whiteley is a TOP 1000 Amazon reviewer,
    but since she reads ARCs from publishers, she is far more tolerant of mishaps,
    because the book often has not had a final proof. Our indie books have got to
    improve if we want to earn $$$. That’s my take on the issue… and an author should never take a reviewer to task. Ever.

    Uh–do you read books in Spanish? Laffin’…

    Jackie Weger

    • jeanniezelos says :

      Thanks Jackie – I felt like you, that readers can be whatever they like 🙂 This person wasn’t an author, but a reviewer for a multi person blog, and all done under an anonymous name – I hate that! Its those kind of comments that put people off reviewing. I was taken aback as even when I don’t get on with a story I never take the slash and burn route. There’s always someone that will love a book and its all down to personal taste. As it happens one I read yesterday sounded great from the description but wasn’t FOR ME – others will love it, but it was such a sweet, happy, everyone loves each other story it made my teeth ache. That’s just because I need some drama and angst in my books and this didn’t have any – like reading an adult PollyAnna 🙂

      Re indie books, I’ve noticed a huge uprise in quality since I got my first kindle in 2010…back then there were so many with text that was illegible, bad spelling, plotting, grammar and editing, to the point where many were impossible to read. Tucked in among those though I found some real gems, and early books whose authors have gone on to become best sellers. Its a great opportunity, and thankfully the idea that all a writer had to do was knock out a story and add it to kindle and the riches would roll in has gone, and mostly only those who are prepared to put in the hard work remain. I’m a huge fan of indie books and if I could write I’d want to go that route – I’m a bit of a control freak and handing over my work to someone who dictates price, story length and content wouldn’t suit me. I guess though that has to balance against the time you Indie authors have to put in on marketing. Tough job, same as us artist and its why I’d starve if we relied on my art income. Those who do live off art sales average 40% painting and 60% marketing time – I wonder how that stack up against book sales?

  2. Mary Smith says :

    I’ve said before that I like your reviews – and your eclectic taste in books. Even when you are reviewing a book which does not appeal to me I enjoy reading what you think of it. Sometimes your enthusiasm leaps off the screen! I like that you often point out that even though you have not enjoyed a book, other people might. I believe reviews are subjective – they are the opinion of the reader and everyone will have a different opinion. Even if ten people say they love a book it is likely to be for different reasons. My novel, No More Mulberries (which you kindly reviewed some time back) has 82 reviews on Amazon UK with a rating of 4.5 out of 5 with revews ranging from almost essay length to one line, from 5* to 2*. One 2* reviewer said she couldn’t get into it as it was too slow for her. That is her perfectly valid opinion – no one can say she is wrong. The book feels too slow for her. I’m just glad not everyone feels the same.
    Reviewing seems to be such a contentious issue and, as you point out, you will never keep everyone happy. Just keep on doing what you are doing.
    Happy New Year and happy reading.

    • jeanniezelos says :

      Thanks Mary. I was a bit taken aback as I really try not to be negative about books I haven’t enjoyed and didn’t see my review as this person did. She said I was probably homophobic…..when in fact nothing can be further from the truth. I’m very anti any kind of discrimination and Liberalist about personal relationships. So long as others aren’t hurt anything goes IMO

      I kind of know in a way what the lady who said your book was too slow meant – its a book that needs to be savoured, to be read in a different way to so many that spoon feed the reader and provide instant gratification. I’ve just got the final book in the Iceberg Trilogy for review – I loved books one and two and they are in writing style very much like your book. They cover a long time span and generations of the same family, and what’s happened down the years, how one event has ripples that flow down to future generations. I’ve not started it yet, I have to be in the right mood for that sort of read to appreciate it fully. I love stories like that, but not everyone does I know. It’s back to how we all want different types of story thing… I’m just glad there are writers like you and Sherryl Cauldfield who continue to produce novels that take time to read, and are stories to savour and enjoy, where we need to work out for ourselves what is happening/is going to happen and why, rather than have it all done for us.

      • Mary Smith says :

        Thanks, Jeannie. I wasn’t fishing for compliments – but always nice to hear them! 🙂
        I don’t see how you can be accused of being homopbobic.After reading a number of your reviews of LGBT books I recommended your site to my son who is gay.

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