Monday, June 29, 2015

Discussion: Are Negative Reviews Bad for Your Book?

All around the Internet you hear stories of authors flipping out over a negative review. One author showed up at a reviewer's house but left when no one answered the door, another flew from England to Ireland to throw a wine bottle at a blogger, someone else made a list of everyone who received an ARC copy of his book but didn't review it for various reasons, and one person wrote a negative review so the author promised free books to anyone who would give him a glowing five star one to balance his ratings, even if they didn't read it, ect.

Obviously not all authors are like this--a lot of them used to be or currently are reviewers themselves and are more understanding. But when some people get negative out. Take, for example, the first author I mentioned. When someone wrote a scathing review of her book, other people on Goodreads commented and said the review made them change their mind about reading it. Ergo, the author lost readers who otherwise would have given her book a chance. She believed that one review had damaged her career, so she showed up at the review's house and absolutely killed whatever chance she had left (duh).

Just because she believed her career had been badly hurt.

Yes, negative reviews lower you overall rating on Goodreads and can often sway other people from picking up your novel. But what if those reviews actually help you instead?

Here's a scenario all too common in Christian fiction and self-pub novels especially: I saw browsing through Goodreads and found a self-pub Christian fantasy novel for new adults. I think I'd like New Adult fiction, but they tend to have a lot of sexual content. But a Christian fantasy? That sounded good, so I checked out its page. All I saw were positive reviews, so I checked its balance of ratings.

It's overall rating is 4.52 out of 5. There are no one star reviews, but four people gave it two stars. None of them left a review. 14 people gave it 3 stars, but only one person wrote a review, and she only mentioned good things about the novel and gave no reason why she didn't give it 5 stars. All the rest of the reviews/ratings (134) are 4 and 5 stars.


This gives me the impression that the only people who reviewed her book were her friends and family who received books for free. Obviously, I'm sure that didn't happen--I highly doubt she's given away 100+ copies of her book since it was published last year. But still. If unbiased people had read her book, wouldn't someone have given a negative review?
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I ended up adding this book to my to-read list, but I don't intend to get to it any time soon. Why? Because the author has no credibility. Maybe her book is great, but no matter what you do, someone will hate it. I've been the first person to post a negative review before--it's awkward. If everyone loves it, then something must be wrong.

The same goes for reviewers. There's quite a lot out there who only write positive reviews because they believe no book deserves 1 star, simply because the author worked so hard on it. If they don't like a book, it simply disappears from their Goodreads shelves. But again, these people have no credibility. If you seem to love everything, why should I trust your judgement on a book? Now, maybe these people don't care what people think, and that's fine. Most people (or maybe it's just me?) do care. I want to appear credible. I have a public profile on Goodreads because I want people to friend me. I want people to look at my reviews and think "That's exactly what I thought!" or "I disagree, but dang, I like her style of writing". ;) Only posting positive reviews would diminish my believability.

It's okay if you don't like an author's book. It's totally fine to say that. Statistically speaking, no one is going to try to hurt you. Don't apologize for your opinion! Own it!

Comment: What do you think about negative reviews? Also, a giveaway is coming up in a couple days, so stayed tuned!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Magician's Dream

The Magician's Dream (Oona Crate Mystery, #3)The Magician's Dream by Shawn Thomas Odyssey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I hardly remember anything about this at all.
A break-in at the museum, mysterious visitors to the grand new library, and a cute guy that Oona is just beginning to notice provide obstacles, distraction, and aid as Oona navigates her way among the politics of her wizard neighbors to discover who is to blame in the latest Oona Crate mystery. 
What I liked:

1. The general idea. As someone pointed out in a review of The Magician's Tower, it's kind of like Harry Potter: A magic world corresponding with the "real" world. Here, however, that world was in the 1800s, which was neat.

What was meh:

1. The characters. I did enjoy Oona (her name fits her perfectly) but she and the others felt shallow. And why are police characters ALWAYS idiots? Really?

What I didn't like:

1. The world building. Grant it, I haven't read the other books in the series, so this is probably just my faulty opinion.

2. The plot was loose and full of holes. I read and reviewed it in August 2014 though, which is probably why the writing felt like a rough draft. It is. Apparently all of the books in the series have typos though....

Am I eager to read the other books in the series? Not really. I wouldn't complain if I did though: Oona is a fun narrator.

View all my reviews

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Hello, I Love You

Hello, I Love You: A NovelHello, I Love You: A Novel by Katie M. Stout
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I appear to be in the minority on this one.

Thank you, Netgalley and St. Martin's Press, for this free book to review!
Grace Wilde is running—from the multi-million dollar mansion her record producer father bought, the famous older brother who’s topped the country music charts five years in a row, and the mother who blames her for her brother’s breakdown. Grace escapes to the farthest place from home she can think of, a boarding school in Korea, hoping for a fresh start.

She wants nothing to do with music, but when her roommate Sophie’s twin brother Jason turns out to be the newest Korean pop music superstar, Grace is thrust back into the world of fame. She can't stand Jason, whose celebrity status is only outmatched by his oversized ego, but they form a tenuous alliance for the sake of her friendship with Sophie. As the months go by and Grace adjusts to her new life in Korea, even she can't deny the sparks flying between her and the KPOP idol. 

Soon, Grace realizes that her feelings for Jason threaten her promise to herself that she'll leave behind the music industry that destroyed her family. But can Grace ignore her attraction to Jason and her undeniable pull of the music she was born to write? Sweet, fun, and romantic, this young adult novel explores what it means to experience first love and discover who you really are in the process.
Most people get offended by this book. Grace didn't go to Korea because it's, you know, Korea (which is way cool! Love Korean books!), she went because that's what came up first when she googled Intentional Boarding Schools. She never learns how to speak their language besides "Hello" (which is like five words long), and she clearly is used to American food. And yet, the only thing above that bugged me was the language part, because I love foreign languages. But you know what? Not everyone does. Grace didn't go for the experience, she went because she wanted to leave her home. Of course she's not going to have a perfect attitude about everything.

Frankly, I love the way the Korean culture was presented. If it's as inaccurate as some people say, than I feel slightly jilted, but if it is real? Than I totally want to go there. As with every book set in a foreign country though, I could never tell any of the cities apart. They're all big, they're all loud, and they all have insane traffic.

I really like Grace. She's super flawed--she looked down on Kpop and basically every music she's not used to, manages to forget when American Thanksgiving is, and adjusts perfectly to a school IN KOREA, which you would think is significantly more difficult than American schools. But she has spunk, goshdarnit, and she will make her way in the world after her family's tumult and no one can stop her.

Jason confused me just as much as he confused Grace though. Does he like her? Does he hate her? Why couldn't she tell Yoon Jae, a total sweetheart, definitely likes her? It kind of bugged me how Grace would want to date him and do date-ish things with him (like kiss), but when he attempted to make it official, she rebuffed him. I get that her past was traumatic and she's still recovering, but it was still annoying.

And yet...I still love this book. Everything is so vibrant and full of life, so how can I not? I will definitely read more by Katie M. Stout in the future.

View all my reviews


Language: A
Sexual Content: A
Notes: underage drinking by other characters, not Grace.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Survey Results!

The results are in for the survey I took! You can still take it and write your response in the comments at the end of this post. Just because I'm showing some pie charts doesn't mean I don't want your input anymore. :)
Pie charts
Frankly, I'm a little surprised that personal life got the most votes.
I guess you can expect some posts about hearing loss, driver's ed, and going to college!

Book discussions come in second. I've been thinking about how good negative reviews are for a book's publicity, so I'll either do a vlog or a blog post about that soon. Next comes giveaways in general, Modern Decency, and Link-Ups (someone commented about a video "link-up" she'd like me to participate in, so can I just say YES YES YES that will be coming soon). After that comes giveaways by me (so I'm in charge of shipping, not someone else), and then book reviews and "other". Unfortunately, either they just didn't put anything into the blank, or their response just didn't get logged. Sorry about that!

Every blog has that one little thing that drives the heck out of their readers, so I asked what I did that was annoying.

Two people said I'm too vague in my reviews, and when I asked how to make my blog better, I also got two that said they're not fans of my blog design. I am currently working on a new one. A lot of people seem to use white backrounds, and that looks very clean and non-cluttered, so I think I'll go that route. I still hope to incorporate stars somehow, since I love fantasizing about them.

This time, four voters said "other", and all the responses saved! One person said she wasn't personally a fan of GIFs (I know who said that! ;) and I almost agree with her. Not completely--I think GIFs are great at breaking up big chunks of text and make reviews more interesting. On the other hand though, one time someone said on their blog that they try to make the GIFs all come from the same movie or whatever, and so I started doing that too, instead of picking whatever seemed to fit. Suddenly, they had to be themed and coordinated. I've been spending way too much time trying to find the perfect GIFs, but guess what? That blogger doesn't even follow their own advice anymore! So while I will still include GIFs here, I may not do them as often.

Someone said "We Are Writers, as mentioned above" so maybe they were the person who said "other" at the top? Anyway, about WAW...since I'm not really writing anymore (or not anytime soon, that is), I've deleted WAW.  A couple people submitted, so I'm really sorry I won't be able to use their pieces. Maybe another time! If it ever comes back, I'll use their pieces first.

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who participated. As much as I want to stay "out of the crowd" and do the stuff I like, I still want to take other people's opinions into account.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Color of Happiness

Aww yessss, another book blitz! I really hope it's also going to be a book tour, because I would love to read this book.

The Color of Happiness
Release Date: 04/01/15
Radiant Books
218 pages

Summary from Goodreads:
Faith Lane is the girl who has everything. At least, that’s what everyone thinks when they see her rocking a killer dress while laughing with her best friend, Tiffany. But Faith’s life is far from flawless. Her peers torment her relentlessly, and her parents expect her to be the epitome of perfection. Criticized and pressured at school and home, Faith retreats into silent acceptance and finds an escape in her passion of dancing.

Then she meets Alex – quirky, forever with a pass, and concealing a mysterious secret of his own. And through his encouragement, Faith starts believing in her gift for dance and gains courage to stand up for herself. But will she be able to keep her footing when the events of one night consume her with the need to jump off the rocky cliffs near her coastal home? And what has pushed her to the edge of reason?

Buy Links:
About the Author
K.P Gazelle is a true bookworm at heart - she can spend hours with a good book and a hot cup of coffee. When she's not reading or writing you can find her playing with her many nephews and nieces, photographing landscapes, or eating a delicious meal. 

Author Links:
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a Rafflecopter giveaway

**Don't forget to answer my survey! I appreciate it a ton.**

Monday, June 1, 2015

A Neophyte's Tale

Woop woop! Time for another book tour! I was also part of the cover reveal for this book, but I'm only just now noticed that it's not a moon behind the girl, it's an orb held by a super-skinny-yet-super-strong hand. Hm.

Yes, there's a giveaway at the bottom of this post. Speaking of giveaways, that's rated pretty highly on my survey. If you haven't filled it out yet, please do! It's not very long, I promise.

A Neophyte's Tale, an Abbey Thorne short story
Series: Prequel to The Netherwalker Series
Author: C.K. Dawn
Publication Date: April 27 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Book Links: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon || Smashwords

Abigail Thorne hears voices. Well, one voice repeating one word over and over again. Soft and sweet with the promise of power, it calls to her. The twelve year old has no idea that the tender little word is a catalyst that serves to reveal a world hidden to most humans.

Abbey has yet to discover that following the word’s call to its origin will change the course of her life forever. Abbey and her mother don’t have much, and depending on the day, sometimes they don’t even have a roof over their heads. She wants more out of life than just wondering where her next meal is. So she shouldn’t be wasting her time daydreaming about going on a selfish quest, should she? Does she have the strength to leave behind what little she has?

Will she have the courage to break through the illusions surrounding her and lift the cloak of shadows?

C.K. Dawn
CK lives with the love of her life John, his cat Scout, her cat Hagrid, their mutually adopted and socialized feral kitten Pepper (yes, cats have favorite humans. It's a thing), and their dog Diesel (aka Methane-- Please, don't make her explain).
She credits her mother for the strong independent woman she is, her father for her inner peace and beautiful outlook on life, and the summers of sweaty, manual labor on her grandparents' farm for her strong work ethic.
In writing, CK has truly found her bliss. Stay tuned, because there will be a lot more to come in her Netherwalker series. Seriously, things have only just begun. 

This tour was organized by Good Tales Book Tours.