Tag Archives: Netgalley reviews

On Book reviews – good ones, bad ones, and ones that make you go “WHAT??!”

I’m not gonna lie….I read my book reviews.

Many authors will tell you they never do because they don’t want to hear anything negative about the book, or that it makes them uncomfortable, or anxious or ( insert your own descriptor).

Not me.

I read every single, friggin, review I find, especially those from people I don’t know. You kind of expect the people you know to say something nice about your book. But it’s the ones I’ve never met, who don’t know me from Eve, who when they take time to write something about one of my books, I sit up and take notice. I’m not arrogant enough to think my words will inspire, entertain, and bring happiness into every single reader’s lives. It’s my hope, but not my reality, peeps, heehee.

What I always find intriguing though, is when one book has polarizing reviews – both ends of the spectrum from 5 stars to 1.

Let me e’splain….

This was a recent review from a very famous author I know through a publisher connection. We have never met, but I thoroughly enjoy reading her books and she is a one-click author for me. For TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS this is her review, up on Amazon:

Katie O’Sullivan

Reviewed in the United States on February 11, 2020

Format: Paperback

Peggy Jaeger has done it once more, proving why I keep returning to her stories again and again. The vivid portrait of small town life, the depth of the characters and the breadth of emotions… I love escaping to the worlds this author creates on the pages.

Ms. Jaeger writes in a first person point of view that drags the reader along on a sometimes chaotic ride with Cathy O’Dowd, a small-town lawyer and the eldest O’Dowd sister in the small town of Heaven, New Hampshire. She took over her father’s practice and responsibilities when her parents retired, one of which was sitting on the board of the local Historical Society. When a well-known author comes to town to research his new book, the pair are thrown together and sparks begin to fly.

Okay, none of that sounds terribly exciting, does it?

Small town lawyer. Author doing research. Historical Society.

It all reeks of dusty pages and yawns hidden behind polite hands. And yet…

This story crackles with emotion and tension, as the main characters are instantly drawn to each other but trying desperately to ignore the electric connection. The stubbornly broken characters kept me glued to my Kindle rooting for them to give into their feelings, to get over their sad pasts and find a happily ever after with each other. The scenes with Cathy’s grandmother, Nanny Fee, add comical humor and lightness to the overall story. Ms. Jaeger does a wonderful job of creating real characters we can relate to and root for, with the strong background themes of family and forgiveness running throughout.

I finished this book in a day, and loved escaping into the world Ms. Jaeger created. The first book in this series, Dearly Beloved introduced the town of Heaven and the sisters… And I know there’s one more O’Dowd sister whose story has yet to be published (I can’t wait!)

Amazing, right? And such an ego stroke I can’t tell you!
Now, here’s the same book and a review from Netgalley from someone I don’t know from Adam:
Maggie – 1 star
I have thoroughly enjoyed what I have read so far in Today, Tomorrow, Always. I love the small town atmosphere, the family surrounding Cathy, and the love and patience she has for her family, her sweet dog and her community. The buildup of Mac’s background and loss of his family add to an intriguing mystery. Why did you throw in a gay marriage? My decision is to not finish this book and not request any more of Peggy Jaegar’s books. I read Christmas and Cannolis last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thus, I requested this book. Please leave LBGTQ topics no matter how small under LBGTQ headings. It may be only a minor one-page item, but I am not interested in finding out. I will not be leaving a review on Twitter or Amazon as I do not believe in writing negative reviews.
The last sentence made me laugh. THAT’S exactly what she’s done, isn’t it??
Like it’s been said many times in the past : You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.
Now, if this reviewer had said the story was boring, or the writing was sophomoric, or even that the characters were unrealistic, I would have taken her words to heart and chalked up the bad review to someone who just didn’t like the book. This is still America, people, and we are allowed to have opinions that differ.
But…. this isn’t really a review of the book, is it?
Think about it.
Reread her words.
This is about 1 scene, 250 words, 1 page of a book that she even claims she was enjoying up until these 250 words came into play. For whatever reason this was a trigger for her and she decided to condemn me for the rest of my book writing life.
This is just one of those aspects of being an author that makes me go… WHAT??!
If you’re looking for me I’m usually here ( or out reading my reviews!)Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// Book Me // Watch me
…And liked Katie mentioned above, Book 3 BAKED IN LOVE is with my editor, but you can read the opening scene here: PJBlog
Until next time, kids ~Peg

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Filed under A Match Made in Heaven, Romance, Romance Books, WIld Rose Press AUthor, Writing

A matter of opinion…

This wasn’t the blog post slotted for today when I planned my week. Things have a habit of changing, though, so….

On Monday, two things happened at the same time and were in such direct opposition to one another, for a few moments I felt as if I’d been shot through a time warp and landed in a parallel universe.

Let me ‘esplain

My Limitless Publishing book, DIRTY DAMSELS, has been out in the book reading world since July 2 of this year. I have been roping in reviews from wherever I can because, as we all know, the more reviews you have – and good ones! – the algorithm powers that be at Amazon sit up, take notice, and help you promote your book to the masses. Before the book launched, I did a BookSprouts review campaign and did really well with all 4 -5 star reviews. People I don’t even know bought the book ( Bless their souls!) and also rated it, mostly as 5 stars, which is fabulous. Since it’s been two months since it was released, I wanted to ramp up some more publicity for it, so I had it listed on Netgalley. You’ve all heard me talk about this book reading and rating service before, because I’m  a Netgalley official reviewer. So, monday morning at midnight, east coast time, the book went up for read and review. Monday was Labor day in the US, so the masses had a holiday. When I logged on at 5 am that morning I saw the book was listed, noticed the number of cover “likes” and then saw that it already had one review. 5 hours after it was put up.

Let me repeat that: 5 hours after is was made available.

When the butterflies in my stomach quieted, I scrolled down to read the review.

That damn battalion of flapping insects went on hyper-flap again.

The review was…scathing, is the best word. The reader admits she didn’t even finish the book ( well, who could in 5 hours? Was she Evelyn Wood’s granddaughter, fer Chri’sake??) and then droned on about how she “knew she was going to be disappointed, but requested the book anyway.” Oh, and she gave me 1.5 stars. Then she proceeded to upload the review on to Goodreads. Under the review several of her “friends” commented that they were glad she put up her review because it kept them from requesting the book for their own.

Friggin’ lemmings.

I will truthfully say I have never not read a book because someone gave it a bad review. If her “friends” had thought to scroll down on Goodreads and see all the 4 and 5 star reviews listed, would they have changed their minds? I can hope so, but I doubt it. Once a lemming…..

Needless to say, I was pissed. I emailed Goodreads and Netgalley and asked how they could publish a review from someone who blatantly stated that they did not finish the book. Isn’t that…cheating? Wrong? Fraud?

No response from either entity yet.

Now, the part of my Monday where I felt like I’d been shot through a time warp came an hour later when I received a 5 star review from Reader’s Favorite.

This reviewer actually READ the book. How could I tell? Because she gave details that a reader wouldn’t have gleaned if they’d skimmed through the pages. That review went a long long long way toward making my Monday better, I have to tell you.

I consistently wonder if people ( and that’s being kind, my calling them that and not trolls) who do reviews who aren’t authors ever think about how their words effect the writer. Do they understand they are bashing what this person does for a living? Critiquing their livelihood? Netgalley is a free service to readers, so they don’t even have to pay for the books they request. I understand that everyone is entitled to their opinion, I’m not questioning that. What I object to is blatantly stating you did not finish something and then being able to rate it, in turn, lowering the chance of other people wanting to read it.

I will tell you when I request a Netgalley listed book and then find it is not for me and don’t finish it, I always click the DNF button attached to the book review page. That gets me out of having to write a review. I don’t give any books I read less than a 3, and if I have to give a three, I always always always make some positive remarks about the book, ending with, it simply wasn’t for me. I don’t bash the book or the author.

Obviously, I was raised right.

Those lemmings? Yeah. Not so much.

Thanks for listening to me gripe!

Until next time ~ Peg

 

 

 

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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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