|At least, you know that this is probably a sex-laden book!|
(When books about vampires, elves, and mermaids are really one big literary sex romp/cheesy love story)
Why do I commonly feel like the only blogger facing this woeful dilemma of premise duplicity? How many of you have signed up for book reviews, based on the enticing premise and cover alone, only to discover the book was utter crap? Then, you are expected to write honest, constructive reviews, which aren't entirely negative or snarky. I've written my slew of snarky review before because some books are very worthy of snarky reviews. I think bloggers often view the field of pre-published books in a largely exaggerated, glorified form. We are only given the terse excerpts, fleshed out merely for the purposes of insuring a purchase from a prospective buyer. We are given that same faulty deception, which quickly transforms to deep regret upon finding that we really do not like the book we are reading. Wait... Didn't we just promise the author in an email that we were willing to review their book??
How can a blogger safely disentangle themselves respectfully from this mess?
I'd suggest relying on NetGalley or authors that you normally feel very safe with. I always hear fellow readers bemoan those who never step outside their safe haven of "approved authors." As a blogger and even a reader, I definitely have my safe structure of writers that I feel aren't going to write drivel. In the past, I once was given an offer to review a "vampire book" with a premise that sounded very magnetic. Of course, it was devoid of any suggestive details that the book might be "smut." I didn't discover that until ten pages into the book, the main couple was already tearing their clothing off without any development. The worst is when every cosmetic detail of these characters are glittered with adjectives of sheer perfection (well-shaped lips, finely formed torso, blue eyes, blonde hair....Arayan porn). Yes, these books usually go the way of becoming Nazi love stories by relying on the whole underlying message that "blue eyes and blonde hair" are inherently perfect....
Have you noticed that these books are becoming much more expertly disguised as your standard fantasy/scifi novel? It is only twenty pages into the book, and fifty references to bedroom eyes, that you are then forced to read agonizing sex scenes, that hardly are sexy since the characters are normally cardboard thin. In real life, who really just jumps into the proverbial sex bed ten minutes after meeting someone. Where is the wrongly placed, unflattering pimple. Seriously... why are there not some behavioral problems/ a shred of some form of imperfection??? These books are just too unrealistic for me, and I think publishers love to disguise them as normal fantasy&scifi books for the naive public. We didn't know we were subjected to a whole different kind of fantasy; something that creates body heat.
Why Netgalley/the publisher is much more trustworthy than other sources?
Anyways, I just find myself reading through so many mediocre books as a blogger that I'm becoming a bit more of a solid NetGalley user. NetGalley lets you view something before committing to a review. At the Random House Breakfast, one of the representatives from the company even mentioned that this was a great asset to this site for both the publisher and the blogger. As bloggers, we are assailed with requests for books that sound very promising, but often aren't. Also, subject matter is hardly a good judge. I think the label of being a "science fiction/ fantasy" blogger sometimes garners some of the same badly written books that any blogger, with or without certain genre preferences, are given. Premises, genres, and covers are very inept judges for evaluating a book, but they have become the standard trio used by prospective writers looking for bloggers.
In an ideal world, we shouldn't have to "commit" before receiving the full text of the book, or partial text. If you do commit and happen to honestly hate the book, you should be given the right to negatively review it. Lying is not something I think should be promoted, but I often think book bloggers find themselves in an uncomfortable situation,where they feel they must write a "positive" review. Some blog tours will even require you to write only "positive" reviews. Does "positive" allow room for constructive critcism? How much nuance can we have in our reviews, or are bloggers only expendable bots? Reviewers are criticized all the time by the public for writing negative reviews of popular films. As someone who reviews things, you are bound to detest something. There really are a fair number of bad books that sadly are very readable. Many of the books that I read are in the "unreadable," "blaughh" category. They are ones that are tedious. The same thing happens with "Blaughhhh.." tv shows, where you closely watch the clock more-so than the tv-show. Its really hard to write coherent, honest reviews of something that you feel nothing but apathy for. I've yet to see someone write a book blog review that says, "Honestly, this book was pure drudgery.." I've felt like writing that so many times as a book blogger.
Conclusion to my "Rant"
You're so "facetious, and unfair.." Yes, some people might claim that I'm one of those two things by writing this. I sometimes need space to rant as a blogger. I quite love this little "profession" of mine, but some things just don't sit well with me. Part of any job involves frustrations, and the important element is to learn from them. From now on, I'm trying to be much more judicious when planning to "commit" to reviews because a lot of my book review commitments turn out to be books that I really dislike. Some of them are well-written, but the writing itself is laced with so much contrived sexual content that I can't help but "roll my eyes." I have no problem with reading books with romantic elements, but I find that there are a bevy of these books that are far too unrealistic. If I see one more of these romances with "blue eye, blonde hair" women or men with well-shaped lips/ well-constructed torso; I will literally stab my eyes out! Also, I must repeat it again: "Any book with a sex scene with these dull characters in the first five pages are worthy of going to the incinerator." *Metaphoric Flames only*
Anyways, I do happen to get some very good books once in a while and for those requests, I am a very happy person!! Moreover, I hope that I learn my lesson to carefully research a book before committing to it on the basis of premise/cover duplicity.