Tag Archives: Book reviews

Opinions are like a body part—you know which one!

Recently, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on author friend websites that start like this: “Just got a 2 star rating on my latest book. The reader really hated it. I’m out on a ledge! Send help!”

Well, maybe not that dramatic, but you get my meaning. The writer is upset because someone read and didn’t like their book and told “the world” through Amazon, or Goodreads, or whatever other venue they spew on. As a writer, I know how much this hurts. I wonder, do the readers know what this does to us?

Do they realize that reviews are the equivalent of  performance job reviews for us? And that just because a book didn’t resonate with them for whatever reason, it doesn’t mean it won’t with some other ( or thousands of!!!) reader(s)?

Do readers understand that places that sell our books like Amazon and Barnes and Noble, publish any and all reviews, not just the good ones? And that marketing plans, promotional updates, even placement decisions can and are made based on those reviews.

I had a person ( I use the term loosely) give me a 1 rating on a book that had nothing but 5 stars, stating I wrote the wrong story. I should have written the story of the subplot people as my main story. I wanted to respond to her review by stating, “No, bitch. I wrote the story I wanted to. If you thought it should be written differently, then you write that story, but don’t be bad mouthing me because you didn’t agree with what I wrote. How would you feel if I went to where you work and told everyone what a lousy worker you are? ” Now, of course, I didn’t do that. But I wanted to. I really did.

The whole review and rating system is cockeyed to me anyway. Most people who review it don’t even really understand the system. Think of it like you’re back in school. An A was 90-100, B 80-90, C 70-80, d 65-70 and anything below that an F. I’ve had reviewers write they loved the book but then gave it a 3. So, you loved it but it was only worth 70 points? And what does that 70 equate to, anyway? You can’t purchase 70 % of a book. Or 70 pages. Or pay 70% of the listed price.

See? The system is screwy.

I review new books for Netgalley. If I can’t rate a book as a 4 or 5, I don’t review it. It’s not because I’m basically a nice person ( because I’m not! Not even close.) It’s more that I know there was something about the book that didn’t resonate with me as a reader, but will, I’m sure, with someone else. I don’t think it’s my job, or place, to write a scathing review ( or a nasty one, or a snarky one). My books aren’t perfect and they don’t sit well with every reader, either. I put myself in the writer’s place when I’m reviewing and I know what a bad review does to my soul. I won’t intentionally hurt anyone’s feelings that way. The flip side is I’ve simply adored many books that other people rated 1,2, or 3’s and then wrote bad reviews of.

I recently replied to an author who was lamenting the poor rating she got on a book from a reviewer and was second-guessing her own writing ability. I wrote, “Opinions are like a**Holes: everybody has one, and reviews are basically opinions.” I meant it. One bad review does not end a career. It hurts the soul, deflates the ego, and causes tears, but ultimately, it’s just another opinion.

The kicker? as writers, we need reviews for marketing, promoting, and to get the word out about our books. Even some of the biggest bestsellers in history had some horrible reviews, though. And they still sold.

So. Reviews. A necessary evil for writers. My advice for bad ones? Develop a thick skin and laugh it off, because, ultimately, you published a book and the chances the reviewer did are practically nil, so you’re already ahead of the pack!

When I’m not reading my reviews, you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance

How just a few words can make all the difference in your psyche!

It’s Friday and around here that usually means an entry in the #MFRWauthor 52 week blog challenge. This week’s topic was Meet my Pets. Since I have no pets, I didn’t see the need to write anything. So that left me with a bit of a blog hole.

Until…..

You all know my newest Lyrical Shine release, A SHOT AT LOVE, dropped on 10.3.17. I’ve been involved in a busy blog tour for the past month promoting it. Well, the reviews have started to shower in an I can’t believe how amazing they’ve been. Truly. Hearing readers I DON’T PERSONALLY KNOW praise the book has been so ego inflating at a time when my fragile little psyche has been battered and bruised.

Let me ‘esplain.

I have one more book for Lyrical, CAN’T STAND THE HEAT, due to release on 4.3.18 (available for preorder right now — shameless plug).

After that….I have no more book contracts. I’ve been writing up a storm and trying to get the next book sold, but so far, nada. Since I started this journey in 2015 I have never NOT had a book contract coming down the pike. This is a new experience for me and one, I will admit, that has me terrified. I retired so I could write and PUBLISH full time. I’ve been doing my end of the bargain….now I need a publisher to help me along that track. The added insult is that I still haven’t been able to get an agent. If I had one, I feel, navigating this publishing quagmire would be easier. But… what can you do? This is me, shrugging with acceptance.

Now, during this soul sucking time, my reviews have been coming in. Truly, peeps, these kind words have inspired me, strenghtened my resolve to keep writing, and put a smile in my heart. This one came in yesterday and I’m still tickled pink about it:

“Thank you for writing another great story, Peggy Jaeger!

Who remembers Alias, the TV show starring Jennifer Garner? Well, I was such a HUGE fan of Alias and Sydney Bristow.

Gemma, the heroine, in this story reminded me of her. Gemma was so kick-ass, feisty, and strong. And Ky. Ky. Sigh. So dreamy and hot!

I loved the fast pace of the story. I loved the chemistry between Gemma and Ky. Each scene was so vividly described that reading felt like watching an incredible good action-themed tv show/movie.

I couldn’t put this book down. So, so, so, so good.

If you like your romance books with action/suspense/FBI-related arcs like I do, I would definitely recommend this book.”

Warms the cockles of my fragile little ego’s soul, it does!!!

So, enough bellyaching. Back to my WIP. Maybe I’ll have a Christmas miracle this year and be offered a 5 book deal from the publisher of my dreams…. maybe.

When I’m not being depressed ( not really, heehee!) you can connect with me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

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Filed under Alpha Male, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, romantic suspense, Strong Women, The Laine Women

In praise of, well…praise!

There’s this thought among writers that you shouldn’t read your reviews. The reason is a sound one: no one likes to hear (or read) negative things about themselves, their work, their words.

I get that. I’m the type of person who will brush off 1000 nice things that have been said about me and zero in on the one negative comment. It will consume me. I’ll analyze it inside out, upside down and right side up, backward and forwards to try and glean whether the person who gave it or wrote it had a valid point or a hidden agenda or is just a vicious nasty bitch with no life.

Paranoid much, you ask? Well, duh! yes, I am, thank you for asking.

Anyway…I digress.

I’m trying to do better about not allowing the negativity to worm its way into my soul.  Everyone has an opinion and a right to their opinions. That’s the basis of free speech, after all. So in honor of my new found ( hopefully lasting) endeavor to ignore negativity, I wanted to share this snippet of praise I received from a reader last night – one whom I don’t know. It literally made my week.

“Boy meets girl, the fall in love and then live happily after – such is the standard fare of romance novels. However, very not so with Cooking with Kandy. This novel has a unique story line, and some of the most intriguing characters I’ve met in some time. Kandy is a self-imposed super woman. Josh is the hunky PI hired to ferret out who is threatening her. Much to the surprise of both, there’s a whole lot of heat in the kitchen and it’s not coming from the oven. But once you meet Kandy’s mother, Hannah, all bets are off – this is one gal I admire to the hilt. She’s not afraid to say what she thinks, is written off as ditzy by a lot of people, but much more astute than anyone (except Josh) gives her credit for. I loved the characters and I loved the plot line. Jaeger’s descriptions of not only the set of the cooking show, but of Kandy’s homes made me feel I was there with them. A wonderful start to the new series Will Cook for Love. But there’s an empty place in my heart wondering if we will ever hear from these wonderful characters again. I’m definitely recommending Cooking with Kandy to all my bookworm friends.”
I feel like Sally Field: She likes me, she really likes me!!! ( Or at least my book!)
 Okay, enough tooting my own horn..at least for today.
When I’m not trying to banish negativity you can find me embracing the positive here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

Musing on #Netgalley and #BookReviews

netgalley

Many of you may know that I’ve been doing book reviews the past few months as a Netgalley member. Some of the books I’ve chosen have looked amazeballs when I’ve read the blurbs that are posted and I’ve requested them hoping to find new authors to read.

What’s that old saying about not judging a book by its cover? Well, I’d like to add you can’t always judge it by its book jacket blurb either.

Let me ‘esplain.

I recently read 4 books I’d requested that sounded fabulous, but once I started reading them, I realized they were not for me. There was nothing critically wrong with them – they just didn’t resonate with me from a reader viewpoint. Since I’d requested– and been granted– them, I had an obligation to review them. But I didn’t. I did rate them, but I couldn’t do justice to a written review. I didn’t want to state that the plot didn’t hold up, or that I’d found timeline mistakes or unfulfilled character arcs. In one case, I did find the plot so implausible, I was surprised the book was listed as a contemporary when it really should have put in the fantasy category.

I don’t like giving criticism – constructive or otherwise – so I never wrote an actual review to post on Goodreads, etc. I know that those authors put their best feet forward, that they worked tirelessly, sweating and toiling to put out the story of their hearts. Unfortunately, that story just wasn’t for me – no fault of the writers.

The reason I’m telling you this is because not everyone is like me. Netgalley, Goodreads, amazon, really anyplace that does book reviews, has millions of bad, nasty, and heartbreaking ones. I can’t imagine what that must do to the authors who read them. I’ve had two reviewers ( not professional ones, but romance readers) for two different books of mine say this:

-for one book, the reader gave it a 1 ( out of 5) and said I wrote the wrong book.

-for the other, the reader gave it a 2 and said she couldn’t get into the story.

I could have written both these people nasty letters, but didn’t because I understood what they were saying. I didn’t agree with them, but for whatever reason, they didn’t like the story I’d told. That’s the basis of an opinion – it can be different from what you think. This is, after all, a  society that bases itself on freedom of speech and thought.

But…..

I was raised with the mantra if you can’t say something nice, keep your mouth shut. I do that. I practice that with my reviews, and in every area of life. Do I ever slip up and say something I regret? Sure. I’m human. But I have never written- and will never write – a review that calls into question the writer’s integrity, thought process, talent ( or lack of), or question the reasons for writing what they did. Just because something didn’t resonate with me, doesn’t mean it doesn’t with others. The book I read recently with the implausible plot is currently one of the hottest sellers on the market.

So, I guess what I really want to say is this: I write, first, last and always, for me. If I like it, I am happy. Unfortunately, I am in a business where money is spent on what I write, so I have to make sure it fits a wide range of reading tastes or the book won’t sell, the publisher will drop me, and I will be back at square one with no books on the market. If you like something I’ve written, yay! Do me a favor and tell people you liked it by writing a review or rating it on Amazon, goodreads, etc. If you don’t like something I’ve written, I’m sorry. It just didn’t fit with you. But please don’t go and write a scathing review just because you didn’t. There are other ways you can let me know you don’t like what I wrote – first and foremost by not purchasing another book! One bad review has a domino effect on sites like goodreads and amazon, where those companies look at data to determine if they are going to promote an author and their book or not. Again, old sayings are cliche because they are true: you can get 100 fabulous reviews, but the one lousy one will stick with you for a lifetime!

If this blog sounds like a big whine-fest, I’m sorry.  But I needed to say what I said.

‘Nuff said for now.

If you do like the way I write and you want to connect, you can usually find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, branding, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Pet Peeves

Something new…

Recently, I signed on with NetGalley, an online book reviewer site. The reason I decided to do this was because I read a lot  of books by new authors,  and I know – personally!- how hard it is to get reviews. Reviews generate buzz about books to people, and as an author, I appreciate how valuable a good review is to finding new readers to read my stuff.  A good review can up an author’s sales. A great review can propel a book and its writer into another stratosphere. Being a reviewer allows me to help the people I know who read my blog find great new and upcoming authors, and writers they’ve never read before.

I made a new page on my website to list the books and their reviews that I think are outstanding and worthy to be read. This is the link: Books I’ve reviewed .  You’ll find well known authors in addition to many names many you’ve never heard of before – but should be hearing about!

My standards for review are the same ones I hope other reviewers will use for me. I won’t write a written review for any book that I can’t give a 4 or 5, to. If a book scores lower than that for me, it usually means the story didn’t resonate with me. That doesn’t mean it won’t appeal to others, tho, and I don’t want to post something negative about it. I’ve read two books recently that I gave only 3’s to because there were so many grammatical and typing errors in the copy I couldn’t actually enjoy the story because of it.

I don’t ever want to be one of those mean reviewers who epitomize the haters gotta hate rule. Those are the reviewers who I always think are secretly writer-wannabes who just can’t – for whatever reason -write the story themselves, so they bash others that do. So. Not. Me!

So, if my humble opinion means anything, I hope you will check back periodically and read about the books I’ve given kudos to.

If you need to find me, you can:  Tweet Me// Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under Author, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Lyrical Author, Netgalley Reviewer, New Hampshire, NHRWA, research, Romance, Romance Books, The Wild Rose Press

A necessary Evil…Reviews

As a writer,  just like any artist, you can live or die by the reviews of your work. I’ve had 5 books published since March 2015 and many reviews. Nearly all of them have been positive, but there have been a few that have stopped me in my tracks.

First, a disclaimer: I’m going to be honest and tell you I really don’t care all that much about reviews. I know you’re probably thinking I sound conceited or snobby or even elitist, but when all is said and done, I write stories for myself. I’ve said before if I’d never been published I would have been fine because I still would have written down all the stories in my head, despite the fact no one would ever see them but me. I write for me.  Me. The fact that other people like reading what I write is a humongous bonus to my ego, but in the end, I’m my biggest fan and critic.

Okay, that really does sound conceited, but I don’t mean it to!

So, on to the clunkers.

My Valentine’s Day book 3 WISHES was a simple boy meets girl-misunderstanding story. Chloe thinks Matt is taken and, to boot, has a baby on the way. A miscommunication that drives the story. Part of the plot included the issue of Chloe’s father’s affair with a much younger woman. One reviewer gave me a one ( 1) star rating because she said I wrote the wrong story. I should have centered the plot on the affair and not on Chloe and Matt and that it detracted from the story I wanted to write. Okaaaaaaaaay. How dumb does that sound? The book was a ROMANCE, not a woman’s fiction novel about infidelity. Now, a one star rating sucks, no mistaking that. But the real issue was the statement I’d written the wrong story. That one made me mad. It was my story. I wrote it the way I wanted. If this reviewer wanted a story about a cheating husband, SHE should have written one.

Okay, rant over.

Another reviewer for the same book said that it wasn’t funny “at all.” I put that in quotes because that’s exactly what she said. Okay, I realize not everyone gets every joke, every innuendo, every nuance of a pun.  People’s funny bones are tickled by different things, I get that. But she’s the only one who mentioned the humor in a negative way. All the other reviewers stated it was  funny and filled with amusing moments and thoughts. I guess my humor just didn’t work for her.

It’s a good thing my skin is thick, my ego solid, because there’s no such thing as a perfect review for every book you write. I’ll admit that even some of my favorite authors have written books that I didn’t like, but I didn’t put up negative reviews about them, and second guess their talent or story telling. I simply held my tongue and continued reading their newest books when they were released. One very real fact of life my mother drilled into me growing up is that if  you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Keep your mouth shut and  your opinions to yourself. SHUT THE  **** UP, in other words.

Not everyone is like going to like everything you write. Fact of life as an artist. But do you really have to tell the world how much you didn’t like something? Have we become a society that just panders to the negative, degrading and insulting one another’s work?

I sure hope not.

Now, having gotten all that off my chest, I’m going to open my ego for another round of  – hopefully – nice comments and let you know that my newest book THE VOICES OF ANGELS, is a Netgalley offering this month. If you are a  Netgalley member you might want to check it out. Click here for the link.

And, please, if you do read and review it – be constructively kind, not maliciously cruel. My ego is intact, but it’s still fragile at times. Thanks for  listening to me b***h.

 

 

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Filed under 3 Wishes, Author, Candy Hearts, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, Life challenges, love, MacQuire Women, Romance, WIld Rose Press AUthor