This post is a follow-up to yesterday's post about reviews.
It just so happened that on the very day my post about reviews went up, I received ONE LITTLE STAR, from one little blogger for one little book, Lancaster House.
I believe this further proves my point that not everyone will like every book!
Here's the funny thing:
Lancaster House and The Middle Aisle were included on a Top Ten of 2012 list at House of A La Mode.
Here's Shelly's review of Lancaster House:
This book sucked me in from the very first chapter. Once I got started I literally put it down one time to make dinner for my family. As soon as dinner was over I was back reading! I probably read it in 3 hours, maybe a little more.
I have never read a book quite like this one. I can't begin to describe to you how good it was. When Taylor contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reading and reviewing it here on my blog, the thing that intrigued me the most was the old house. I remember reading a Nora Roberts book a long time ago about a woman (I think) who bought an old house and was restoring it and I really loved that book. So, I was pretty sure that I was going to like this one. This one took me quite by surprise. I wasn't at all prepared for the depth of the paranormal aspect of this story. Just when I thought I had it figured out something else would happen to take the story that much deeper.
One thing is certain, Lancaster House is a main character in this story. There is a little bit in the book about The Winchester House, I remember reading about it or seeing about it on a TV show. I love how the builder of Lancaster House incorporated some of the things he learned on that construction site into the construction of his own home. It gives Lancaster House some very distinctive characteristics.
I don't want to give anything away since this story is so unique. This story is told from two points in time. Zoe is in the present, in a place she doesn't want to be, telling her story to someone else. The story flows really well from one to the other and when she was telling her story I felt like I was right there with her. I was having a hard time not being really angry about what was going on in the present. I was frustrated for her and I just wanted everything to work out.
Zoe is young and energetic and takes this huge house on without a single thought. She walks right in to a house that the Realtor doesn't even want to go into and she sees it in all it's former glory and just knows that it's meant to be hers. She moves in and gets to work without any hesitation. Then odd things start happening, but at first she just chalks it up to exhaustion and things maybe she is just imagining it. One night something happens that she just can't deny and her life changes. She meets a mysterious man who seems to have been watching over her since the moment she walked into Lancaster House.
Zoe spends all her time working on the house and getting to know her mystery man to the point that she isn't even leaving the house at all. She discovers things about him that leave her with more questions than answers and he isn't even telling her everything. She searches out answers by researching the house and it's history, but even this isn't enough.
As the story goes back and forth from past to present, as a reader I was left wondering if she really is crazy! I know one thing is certain, I loved Andre and their love story is so romantic and original. The whole thing is a little reminiscent of random episodes of some of my very favorite paranormal shows. It's a theme that has been played on a handful of them, but I have never read a story with this theme. It's really something else, I know that I keep saying it, but I just can't get it out of my head!
I was NOT happy when it ended, but there is a second book coming out this winter that will hopefully tie it all up nicely. I can't wait to see how Andre and Zoe's story ends. I wholeheartedly recommend this for anyone who likes paranormal books, you will not be disappointed at all. It's not just a good story, it's really well written and just overall a great read.
There are really no content concerns, I don't think there was any profanity. There are some kissing scenes and talk of being intimate, but no detailed love scenes in this one.
I am going to tell you one more time...click on one of those links up there and BUY this book. You will not be disappointed and if you are then I don't think we can be friends anymore! (Just kidding...kind of!!)
Conversely, the ONE LITTLE STAR book reviewer included Lancaster House on her DNF (did not finish) list of 2012!
I said I'd never received an UGLY review, but I do find this review UGLY:
I thought it was a ghost story, but it’s not at all scary. And the ghost isn’t a ghost…or is he? Half of the story was told in Zoe’s POV to the therapist and half was told in Zoe’s POV when she arrives in the house. I was completely bored by the scenes written with the therapist and bummed out that there wasn’t anything scary about the scenes in the house. I think the author tried too hard to make this novel work and it felt more like a spoof novel than the real thing. Since I knew around 50% that I wasn’t suppose to give it a 1 star review for the tour, I stopped reading. I wasn’t going to waste my time finishing it and not review it. - DNF
How's that for different opinions! It's hard to believe they're talking about the same book!
Clearly, she didn't like the book and that's okay. It really is. It's part of being an author and something I have to accept. Everyone is allowed to express their opinion.
Here's what I object to:
This book reviewer was given a free copy of Lancaster House as part of a blog tour. Since I'm paying for positive promotion of my novel, book reviewers agree to NOT post a review if they can't give the book three stars or more. (this is the policy for this particular book tour company) This policy keeps reviews honest. If you don't like the book, then don't review it. It's as simple as that. I feel this book reviewer broke her agreement by posting this review on her blog and on Goodreads. Just because it's several months later does NOT make it okay.
Okay now I'm done. No more talking about bad reviews. I needed to get that off my chest and now I feel better!
Love to hear from readers! Tell me your opinion on this matter!
Image courtesy of [Rawich] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Here is my take on this. I am not that great at putting my thoughts into words, especially in book reviews, but this is something I feel strongly about so I will try. I COMPLETELY understand how you feel about negative reviews. Heck, my feelings get hurt if someone votes "no" on whether my review was helpful or not on Amazon, so I can't imagine someone trashing something that I worked so hard and put all my heart into.ReplyDelete
But on the other hand I know that (as you said) not everyone will love every book. I will use an example of a hugely popular book that many people LOVED: The Hunger Games. On Goodreads it has a 4.46 average rating; there are 1,318,320 ratings total. Out of those ratings, there are 7,629 one star ratings and over twice that amount of two star ratings. It means nothing about the book as a whole, just that the story and/or style of writing doesn't appeal to a certain person. Even the best of books have many, many low ratings.
Before I read a book, I like to look at positive and negative reviews. I actually think negative reviews can be helpful. I will use the negative review you posted as an example. She wrote that she thought it was a ghost story and was bummed out that the some scenes were not scary. This may help someone else who also may think it is supposed to be a slightly scary book realize this is not that type of book, so that their expectations are very clear. If they were looking for a spooky book they will move on to another book - which may sound like a bad thing. Less book sales and all of that. BUT what I am saying is this may save you from more negative reviews in the future from people saying the same thing. It will also help someone who was considering paying for the book decide if they want to spend their hard earned money on a book. If someone pays for a book thinking it is one type of book and realizes it is not, they are more likely to be upset and write a negative review if they don't enjoy it. PLEASE don't misunderstand and think I am saying you are misleading people about what the books are about. People get completely different impressions from the short descriptions from the back of books. I personally like to look at what category a book is in before I read it to make sure I know what type of book I am reading - whether it is paranormal or not, romance, mystery, religious, etc.
Also, you mentioned that reviewers agree not to post reviews with less than 3 stars so that it keeps reviews honest. I respectfully disagree. I think that policy would make me feel like my opinion isn't important. I mean, if I didn't particularly love a book, I still took their time out to read the whole book and I still have an opinion, and I would like to feel like my opinion is just as valid as the next person's opinion. I would like to state that I don't agree with the way that reviewer went about writing a negative review. You should never, ever criticize the author - only the book. And never just full out trash anything. It is rude and it doesn't help anyone. I believe constructive criticism is completely acceptable and can be very helpful as well.
Anyway, that is just my 2 cents, and I also wanted to let you know I read the first chapter of "I Have People" and as soon as I finish the series I am reading, I plan to read it. I can't wait!
Thanks for the very well written comment! You made me look at the situation from a completely different viewpoint. As a matter of fact, after reading the bad review, I began to worry that I had somehow falsely advertised exactly the type of book that Lancaster House is. It's not scary, and while it is paranormal, it is heavy on the romance. So you're right, the bad review may help more than harm. I hadn't thought of it like that.Delete
Most blog tour companies now inform authors that they absolutely cannot guarantee good reviews, which I do think is a better way to do business. I do, however, agree that there is a kind way to write a review about a book that you didn't care for. If a reviewer doesn't like my book, that's okay, but I do expect them to say it in a professional manner.
Thanks so much for your thoughts, Rachel! Much appreciated!
I think it's just tacky to write a review like that. Especially if it's part of a book tour. I would contact the book tour people and let them know, because as a reviewer we are committing to the rules. Sorry you had to read that Taylor, you are one of my favorite writers of all time. xoxoReplyDelete
Thanks so much for the support, Brandy! I really, really appreciate your kindness and I am so glad to have made your acquaintance. Love you!Delete