Help.. should I ditch a review book I’m bored with?

I’m currently reading a book that an author sent me for review. It’s an author I quite like a lot and I was very excited to get the book. I cracked it open and immediately started reading. Unfortunately it’s been dragging for me ever since. I’ve gotten to ~ page 75, but mostly by forcing myself. The book is ok, the writing pretty good and the characters should be fun. The setting is different and everything about the book SHOULD work for me. It really honestly should. But I gotta say I’m bored senseless and keep finding other things to do than read this book.

But I agreed to read it and review it, so I’m in a quandry.

Do I force myself to finish and write a review that will basically say this book bored me silly and I really forced myself to finish it for this review? Do I email the author and say thank you very much but I’m just not into it so I won’t write a review?  Do I put the book down and hope to come back to it? (Honestly if I put it down… I won’t go back to it).

I’m in a quandry and mostly, I don’t want to keep reading this. It probably is a pretty good book but for whatever reason, I’m bored out of my mind.

So help me.. what should I do?

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26 thoughts on “Help.. should I ditch a review book I’m bored with?

  1. I really sympathise with you on this one Kassa. It’s happened to me on several occasions. In fact I read one very recently which I struggled with for the first 100 pages. In my case I pressed on and the book took a turn for the better, so much so that I was gripped through the second half of the book.

    I had another book a while ago where I couldn’t get past page 40. I kept picking it up, reading 1-2 pages, putting it down and forcing myself to pick it up again later. In the end I had to admit defeat and emailed the person who had sent me the book to say that I just wasn’t getting anywhere with it and that I wouldn’t review. They were actually pretty decent about it.

    Then again I had another book where I had the same problem and again I emailed the author to say I wouldn’t review and I never heard anything back.

    On most occasions I try to do what I did with the book recently and push on through the part that isn’t getting my attention. A lot of times it just turns out to be a slow starter and I can put that in the review. Sometimes though you just have to accept defeat and hope the author won’t be too upset. They shouldn’t be because, after all, I doubt they really want to get a review which tells everyone what a dull book it is.

    • Well it’s always comforting to know other reviewers have this problem too. I will say it’s very very very rare I give up on a book. I have to be totally and completely disinterested to want to give up, otherwise I can usually push through. I think I can push through on this book if I really want to.. but that’s the thing. I think I’m losing patience on reading books that aren’t grabbing me/I no longer want to read.

      It’s part of the push and pull of reviewing. If I bought this book, I’d put it down in a heartbeat and not think about it again. But because it’s for review, I feel more pressure to continue to read it even though I don’t like it.

      Also I start to worry when I force myself to read a book if it negatively impacts my impressions. I mean I try to explain why I was so bored or whatever, but after forcing myself, I definitely don’t feel positive or neutral about it.

  2. Tam says:

    Oh my lawd, I accidentally clicked “log out” and lost my message. Sigh.

    So you’ve blown your cover excuse of “life has gotten so crazy busy I just can’t review your book now” because they are going to know you meant their book. You’ve botched your escape plan.

    I don’t know what to say. It’s why I don’t often take review requests, and I have two waiting. Arggghh. I tend to give Jen my boring books at BER. 😀 But she’s growing a backbone so we may have to recruit more reviewers to do my dirty work.

    Do you think if you let it sit for awhile it would get better? Maybe you’re not in the mood. How long is it? If you have another 300 pages to go, yeah. I hate to hurt someone’s feelings but you can’t MAKE yourself be interested sometimes.

    In summary? No freaking clue. Sorry.

    • Oh crap.. you know I didn’t even think about that. Crap. It’s actually really valid too now.. crap crap crap.

      I’m going to remember that one but for now ugh. Yanno I used to take all those boring ones for TDB but then I put my foot down and said blah no more! So we tried to find others who would take those books and shockingly, no one will lol. They languish in obscurity because for whatever reason no one wants to read them. It’s so sad for the books.

      As for this one.. it’s ~200 pages on my sony so I have 100+ pages to go and I kind of want to scrub my fridge with a toothbrush instead of read it. It’s just not gripping me :s… and it’s not even a bad book.

      Hey – you want to read and review it for my blog? 😀

    • Have you ever had a DNF book and the reason being it didn’t really grab you? I can’t think of the last DNF review book I had but boredom is hardly ever the reason.

    • I may try to muscle through or I may email the author. If the author tells me they would really really really appreciate a review regardless then so be it. They may save me and say “don’t bother.”

  3. Antonella says:

    Hi, Cassa! I would read it and then write a review stating honestly what was the problem I had with the book, and also the fact that I usually appreciate the author. But that’s me ;-).

    I can’t tell you which is *your* best option, because only you knows all the significant details: will the author take out his/her voodoo doll? will she/he retire to a monastery after reading your review? and so on…

    • Oh god.. the voodoo doll! I’m sure there are too many of those floating around with hacked off limbs of mine … I can’t say I’m always popular with the authors.

      I do think it’s responsible and professional of a reviewer to fulfill their commitments. But I also am butting up against that lil kid voice that says “but I dont want to!” So odd for me!

  4. Hmm… well, if it were my book (and I suppose it could be), then I’d prefer a quiet “sorry, I just couldn’t get into it” email from you rather than a poor review pointing out all my shortcomings to the world. However, like Jen says, it could simply be a slow starter.

    That said, I think life is too short to spend it reading books I don’t enjoy. If it’s a really long novel, then maybe enough is enough? 75 pages is a fair stab at it.

    • *gasp* If it was your novel I’d probably have to give up reading entirely because I’d just have lost all ability to read a good book. I haven’t come across one of yours I haven’t liked. (Here’s where I admit I haven’t read yours yet because I’m saving it for my second beach trip. I want books I’m excited to read for the trip.. so yea I’m sorry it’s been so long!).

      But good to know that’s how you’d prefer it handled.

      I also am starting to feel more and more that as my time is limited more and more I’d rather not spend it reading books I don’t want to.

      • *g* Well, you’ve set my mind at ease there – thank you!

        I think most authors know on an intellectual level that they’ll never be able to please everyone all of the time – but emotionally they still really feel the sting of a poor review. I definitely think the email first option is the way to minimise hurt feelings.

  5. Well, in my opinion life’s too short for bad or boring books. And as an author one knows that one can’t reach everyone. This author will probably forgive you for not finishing or rewieving the book. It wouldn’t be good to have a rewiever going: booooooring, now would it?

  6. “As for this one.. it’s ~200 pages on my sony so I have 100+ pages to go and I kind of want to scrub my fridge with a toothbrush instead of read it.” This made me LOL.

    You want to scrub your fridge with a tooth brush and I usually get OCD with cleaning the bathroom when this happens to me and it’s happened a few times. And on those occasions you can eat off the bathroom floor it’s so Spic ‘n Span.

    What works for me is to walk away from reading that particular book for a while (maybe a few days or even a couple of weeks). I either read and review another book or do something completely unrelated. This does the trick and I’ve gone on to finish reading and reviewing. But that’s just me and I know everyone’s different.

    What I’ve realized is that if I’m preoccupied or distracted with something else I’m more prone to not being able to get into a read no matter how good the writing, story, etc., are – I (like you) get bored and can’t stay focused on the book. Also, sometimes I’m just plain not in the mood to read a particular sub-genre and if that book happens to fall within that category I’ve learned to stop torturing myself and just walk away for a while until I get back in the mood.

    Hope this passes and you do get to finish reading and reviewing this one.

    • Kassa says:

      Great advice, thank you! It could be that I’m distracted, I have a lot going on right now and several things on my mind so nothing but the easiest of stories is really working for me. It definitely could be that so I may take your advice and let it sit for a week or so and see if I can pick it up again. I want to be fair to the book but also fair to myself too..

      When I pick it up again I may give myself 30 pages or so to get into it again and if I still can’t after a break then I’ll email the author. Crossing fingers I don’t have to.

  7. conundrum! I guess the short answer is that it is your blog and you can do what you like with it. I review for a couple of places as well as my own blog and I feel I have to follow their “rules” when I get a review book through that particular organisation. For one, the “rules” are pretty easy and I’ve no issue but the other can be a bit tricky and I’m still feeling my way. We are asked not to choose books we don’t think we’ll like, to try and be positive in the review but still be honest and then there is an issue with people not choosing books for review and the person in charge feels she’s stuck with all the rest. I’m still working out how to reconcile the whole thing. I think I’d feel obliged to finish a review book for one of the other sites but not so much for my own blog – not that I get offered review books myself at this stage though!

    I guess you could send an email to the author before accepting a book for review and ask them what they want you do to if you feel you can’t finish it so that the plan is agreed up front. Would that work? Of course, it doesn’t help you now though. 🙂

    • Kassa says:

      It is a tricky situation. The rules seem to vary and change depending on if you like the book. If you like the book and all, it’s easy.. if you don’t then all kinds of different rules come into play. (Isn’t that always how it happens?)

      I do appreciate the advice and help though!

  8. You’ve just reminded me of why I accept so few review requests. 🙂

    Honestly, I’d stop reading and write the author, explaining exactly what you’ve said here. I can’t imagine any author wanting you to force yourself like this–well, I’d like to think they wouldn’t anyway. Besides, if they’ve asked you for a review, they know you’re honest about what you read, and what author wants a reviewer to tell the world they had to fight to finish? Especially since you’re so hard-pressed to put a finger on why exactly it isn’t working for you.

    • Kassa says:

      No kidding! I didn’t think twice about this one because I liked the author but I guess I should have just bought the book so I could ditch or keep on my own schedule. Lately I find I have less patience for just “pushing through” because of a review. Perhaps it means being much more selective about accepting requests!

  9. Ingrid says:

    You make me so happy I am not reviewing books. It sounds like a nasty situation to be in.

    Is the book published yet? If not you might want to mail quickly so the writer can give an arc to someone else to review.

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