Are reviewers afraid of bad reviews?

Earlier this year I wrote a post about whether 1 star reviews are valuable. I had published a 1 star review and the author vehemently disagreed with both the review and the purpose so I asked what others thought. At the time the consensus was generally that 1 star reviews, while not always nice, as long as they’re honest without the intent to mock/sensationalize have a purpose. Readers and even authors claim that the 1 star reviews make a balanced review site and deserve their time in the sun, regardless of ensuing wank/dramafest.

I’ve long held that belief and to be honest the 1 star books are thankfully far and few between. Usually these tend to be DNFs so you don’t get to the end to write the 1 star negativity filled reviews. Not to mention reviewers are first and foremost readers so we choose books we want to read and hopefully like. Unfortunately I recently read a book that has absolutely no redeeming qualities. I can’t find one positive thing to say about this book and it also angers me because it feels like the author and publisher put no effort into the book. In fact the review I wrote (but haven’t published yet) is over 1,000 words and carefully written to be honest without being cruel. It’s a vastly negative review make no mistake and it comes close to eviscerating the poor story.

So when I asked on twitter “What happens when you find absolutely nothing positive about a book. Should you even review it?” I got a plethora of responses. Some said yes, be honest. Some said they wouldn’t. In fact a vast majority of the book readers/reviewers claimed they wouldn’t do the review themselves. These are the same intelligent, articulate, honest individuals that I count on when I read their reviews about books. Yet the overwhelming majority simply said they’d opt out.

So the impression I got was the 1 star reviews are worthwhile but no one wants to subject themselves to the inevitable backlash from doing them. It’s one thing if the review is mocking or clearly meant to be humorous, those tend to get a lot of positive feedback from readers. But I don’t ever write reviews meant to demean or mock a book or the author. No matter how much I hate the book, I think that’s just mean no matter how funny the reviewer may be (and I’ve read some incredibly clever, witty, and hilarious reviews but they’re still mean).

So I’m left in a bit of a quandary. Are reviewers afraid to be honest, if it’s very negative? If so, doesn’t that mean it’s more important than ever for those 1 star reviews to see the light of day? Or do we rely on whispered comments, emails that say “I won’t publically say this but that book sucked ass. Don’t read it!” and so on to avoid the drama and being seen as mean.

I’m curious to hear what people have to say – including authors, readers, reviewers.

If indeed 1 star reviews are worthwhile, what is the best action to avoid the drama?
Also if 1 star reviews are worthwhile, reviewers shouldn’t be afraid to post their honest reviews.

Condom + teeth = bad idea!

Condom + teeth = bad idea!

There’s been a ton of posts lately about condom use in erotic romance – specifically m/m erotic romance. Should condoms be used every time, part of the time, or none of the time? There has been a variety of answers and some very strong opinions.

It seems to be the current consensus that people want this aspect to be real. This is of course a generalization but they just want the condom use to make sense. It is fiction though so there’s a little latitude allowed.

Being that fiction is NOT a guide to sexual activity, safe sex practices, a karma sutra of sex, or anything other than simple made up sex between people who don’t exist – any commentary or criticism must keep this in mind.

So attempting to stay there I’m offering this just for anyone that’s well..maybe slightly probably a tad bit annoyed as I am about condom use. Condoms are not difficult to open and why books consistently make it out as though those packages are made of NASA engineered plastic, made to withstand the efforts of everyone but the most determined sex ravaged horn ball, I’ve no clue.

I’ve never seen anyone use their teeth to open a condom package. Additionally I’ve never seen anyone tie a condom off after use and gently place it in the trash. Neither one of these rampant inclusions are deal breakers. They are after all, simply small details that do not matter.

Yet being that I apparently do care enough to post on it, I’m offering this as a helpful reminder. If anyone knows about condom use in gay sex for maximum enjoyment, I’m going to assume it’s porn stars. Realistic? Who knows but it fits with the theme of fiction I’d think.

So please enjoy this how to use a condom by gay porn stars. Nary a tooth or tied condom in sight.
NSFW.. *very* NSFW but ooooh so fun…

Excerpts – good, bad, indifferent

Over on Three Dollar Bill Reviews Friday ramblings, I’m asking if readers actually read excerpts or if they pass them by. Check out the post HERE and feel free to comment. I don’t read excerpts but perhaps you do?

For those that can’t be bothered to comment *cough* you can fill out this quick and easy poll! Because I’m just that curious … 

Happy Friday!

Book Dating

Unfortunately I don’t mean the love we all have for our books and collections. The single minded passion that rarely is matched elsewhere (don’t lie).

No, I’m talking about contemporary books that clearly place themselves in a certain time frame. By this I mean mentioning and incorporating trends of the time into the books. Now clearly any contemporary book written today will automatically be dated compared to future books. I mean today’s book won’t have the bells and whistles that the future books will have, just as reading books from the ‘80s and ‘90s don’t have the same advances in technology and cultural attitudes that current books exhibit.

So there is a sense that is an inevitable byproduct of writing contemporary books. Yet with how popular they are, I don’t see that changing. But I wonder about certain brands or trends being used that may date the book in a more obvious way. Perhaps contemporary books only have a short shelf life. Whereas a historical can be read any time and remains the same, contemporary books get dated quickly and often left aside. 

An example of the more obvious "dating" methods used, a few years ago books talked about myspace pages. A trend that is now seriously over and those books feel even more dated regardless that they’re relatively recent. I read a book the other day that mentioned twitter and facebook, which brought the same question back. If for some reason those social medias go by the way of myspace, would that "date" the book even more?

But on the flip side, does that resonate with fans who are reading the right now. Perhaps it doesn’t matter if a reader 3 years from now picks it up and laughs about the outdated references. I mean some books still feature the mullet so what can I say?

What about you, readers?
Are you bothered by obvious dating mechanisms such as trends or social media?
What if you pick up the book for the first time years after?

Greene V. County of Sonoma.

Good Morning!

It’s been a busy week in the blog sphere. For those of you still following the Blog Crawl the following Letters have been published so far: to  JD Robb/Jordan Castillo Price to  Lynn Lorenz to  Susan May Warren to  Charlie Cochrane to  Josh Lanyon

Keep following the crawl for more great letters!

Teddy Pig has posted an update on the Harold and Clay, the elderly couple of Sonoma that were treated horribly by the county when Harold was injured. The National Center for Lesbian Rights is suing the county on their behalf. They’ve put together a page outlining the details of the case up to now – read it here.

As a result, All Romance Ebooks has set up a fundraising venture with authors donating 25% of all profits from the sale of their books to the cause. You can read about that HERE!  There are a lot of authors and books listed to choose from. Hopefully even more publishers will step up. 

If you haven’t read last friday’s post about unlikable characters in books, you really should. Oddmonster posted a hilarious look at those dicks we just love, no matter how bad they are. 

Val has a great post up about the mistakes reviewers make. As demanding as we are, Val points out ways that reviewers can trip up and offers tips on how to avoid potential pitfalls. 

Happy April

Since I’m being lazy today, if you want to read my review of No Fear (Conquest #2) by SJ Frost you can read it HERE on jessewave’s site or HERE on goodreads.

I’ve been thinking for some time of uploading my reviews to Goodreads only instead of live journal and good reads. I think most people are over on GR and frankly I like the layout much better, it’s easier, and although I think I know I have a lot of lurkers reading my reviews here, they can easily read them on GR.

So a quick poll to see if people care:

Also you really! should check out Charles Stross’ Blog today where he talks about his new release with Harlequin: Unicorn School The Sparkling.