My Dilemma: To Review or Not Review

Thumb up down voting buttonsYesterday I posted a poll on my Facebook page @dbmoonespage, which is a new page and not getting the traffic I hope to gain with time and perseverance. The survey was asking book reviewers and writers if I should go forward with reading and reviewing a book or to contact the British publisher and first-time author and notify them I am declining to go ahead with reading and writing a review. The specifics of my dilemma follow:

A first-time author asked me via Twitter if I would read and review her book. After skimming the preview she included with her request, I agreed and requested her book via NetGalley. I received the book and began to read, but I couldn’t get past the first page of the prologue without becoming irritated as I take writing book reviews quite serious.

The book is adult fiction about women from the Italian/Sicilian mafia, but the book reads as if it were written by a child. The author writes incomplete sentences; writes in both the past and present tense, so the time relationships she is conveying does not make sense; she is not clear on who is talking during conversations between the characters and uses too many hatcheted clichés and slang. Additionally, she admitted to omitting characters and “spoilers” in the review copy of the book.

How can anyone write a proper book review with missing characters and “spoilers?” I emailed the British publisher and shared my feelings with him, as well as addressing it was my sensing the book had not been through its first editing process. The publisher responded and thanked me for my email, adding, “it will be interesting to see if anyone else makes the same point” and he ended with “The book has been edited by a professional lady who worked for major publishing houses.”

This book is giving me a headache and leaving me with a dilemma. I have looked for other reviews of this book; there is one in which the reviewer gave the book three stars and said of the book, “A bit far-fetched…” As I told the publisher, my review of the version provided to me is not going to help the first-time author (writing under a pen name) nor will it help his sales. I went ahead and pushed myself through four chapters hoping it would begin to resemble something that would become book material, but it did not come close. Perhaps with the proper editing, it would be a decent indie book.

My dilemma is: Do I force myself through the rest of the book and write a review that is already a one star at best, or let the author and her publisher know I am declining to go forward with the review for the benefit of both the first time author and her publisher?

I received two replies on Facebook; both were to decline writing a review. What do you think? Please leave me your thoughts because Tylenol is not helping, nor is the sangria.

The comment section is at the bottom of the page. Please provide me with a yay or nay.

 

  10 comments for “My Dilemma: To Review or Not Review

  1. June 17, 2018 at 1:45 am

    I am currently offering book reviews on my blog and I had a similar dilemma. This is what I did, I alerted finished reading the rest of the book (the best I could), wrote my review and then emailed the author letting them know exactly what my review would contain (1 star and some harsh comments). I left the choice up to them whether or not they wanted the review posted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 17, 2018 at 1:07 pm

      Thank you for sharing, KaylaAnn. And thank you for following my blog. Have a great Sunday!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. June 15, 2018 at 8:11 pm

    Hi D.B., I would decline to review the book. Your reason that a review from you would not help the author seems legitimate to me. It’s up to you whether you give the author an explanation of not. She will probably get upset either way. Many times, people who have poor writing skills need to work on writing in general before they publish a book. As a retired English teacher, I know how frustrated you are about having to review a book with so many mistakes in it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 16, 2018 at 3:55 pm

      Thank you for your input, Kay. I’ve been in touch with the author and her publisher. I don’t believe there are any ill feelings as I’ve made it clear I want to see them both succeed.

      Like

  3. June 14, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    I’ve been in a similar position and there’s no “non-awkward” way to handle it. I’ve read from some reviewers that they’ll review but not share publicly unless it’s four stars or higher or with permission from the author. Maybe that’s the way to go? Some tough love is probably needed, and sadly, it’s not always appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 14, 2018 at 7:59 pm

      Very awkward! Thank you for your input, Allison. 🙂

      Like

  4. June 14, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    Thank you, Carrie. I contacted the author via Twitter and told her if she provides me with an edited/ complete version of her book I will go forward reading her book and writing a review.

    I feel bad as I’ve never come across a situation like this one but I’m not going to lie and make things up to satisfy someone that asked me to write a review. My reviews are a reflection of who I am as a book reviewer and writer.

    I agree with you re: FB vs Twitter. 🙂

    Donna

    Like

    • June 16, 2018 at 2:54 pm

      Sounds reasonable. I agree with not giving false praise. That doesn’t really help anyone.

      Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      • June 16, 2018 at 3:49 pm

        I sent her another Twitter msg this morning and provided her with some useful pages on writing with the varying tenses. I also provided her with novels, both old and new, where the writer used first person tense. I want her to succeed. Her publisher emailed me and told me they made a few “ammendments” to the book, if I wanted to download and review. I told the author the book was no longer on my shelve but if she or her publisher wanted to email me the complete (no hold outs), edited version that I would take a look at it and let her know. I don’t feel as if there’s been enough time to make that big of a difference. We’ll see what she offers going forward.

        You have a great weekend as well, Carrie. And please excuse my errors as I’m responding with my smart…I mean ‘dumb’ phone. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  5. June 14, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    I was one of the ones who voted on Facebook. You’re in a difficult situation, and either way you go would be fair. After all, you were requested to review it. But since it’s a first book, and you feel it only rates one star, then maybe it’s best to just pass on it. As an author myself, I know I’d be devastated if the first review for my new book was a one-star rating. The other option is to not rate it and just say you weren’t able to finish the book because it wasn’t for you, but that it might be of interest to others.

    As for Facebook pages, getting traffic to them is exceedingly difficult, so don’t let it frustrate you. Half the time, no one sees our posts. I don’t even worry about it anymore. I post something there maybe once or twice a week. If people see it, fine. If not, fine. I’ve never enjoyed that site, and I don’t spend much time on it. I mostly keep my page to run promo ads when I need one. Twitter makes much more sense to me. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

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