A few years ago I started reviewing books for a website. It was really fun at first and it was really great to get all these books for FREE before they were released. I did it for about two years before I got burned out. Why? Well, not all free books are good. Crazy, huh? Who’d have thunk it?
This website only reviewed romance books. However, within the romance genre there are LOADS of subgenres. Mystery, suspense, historical, chick-lit, romantica, erotica, gothic, urban, same sex, Christian and the list goes on an on and on. When I signed up we could tell the moderator which genres we were willing to read and which ones we weren’t. It wouldn’t be fair to send me vampire and werewolf romances as I know I don’t like those so it would be difficult for me to give a fair review.
At first I was getting 3 or 4 books a month and it was really a lot of fun. I found a lot of new authors I never would have discovered. Lisa Jackson does some wonderful murder mystery books full of suspense with a little romance thrown in. She has a whole series of books about New Orleans cops which is great. I also found Geralyn Dawson who has some great historicals and also modern books with some of the most wonderful guys I’ve ever read about.
The flip side is I also read some real stinkers. I won’t name any names or titles to protect the site. With a real crappy book if you don’t like it you can just put it down. If you’re a reviewer though, you can’t do that. You have to finish it. Then you have to write a review that says WHY it was so crappy without actually using the word “crappy”. Was the dialogue disjointed (you couldn’t say it was bad)? Was it hard to keep the perspective (too many character points of view)? Was the ending rushed or unfulfilling? Was the book too predictable? Sometimes the reason the book was crappy was all of the above but you can’t just say it was bad. You have to pinpoint WHY it was bad and try to be courteous about it.
The worst part? You had to send your reviews directly to the author. That’s not a problem if you give a glowing review but if you’ve read a book that was mediocre at best? UGH! Those were so hard! I always felt so bad for the author.
Soon I was getting a dozen books a month and then it got to where I couldn’t read anything of my own choosing any longer. We had to have our books in by a deadline so you couldn’t read whenever the moment struck you either – you had to make sure they were done in time, the review written and approved by the site moderator and then submitted to the author. It all got to be too much and I quit about a year ago. I actually didn’t read much for a long time after that. I think I got burned out for a while.
I’m happy to say that I’m finally getting back into it. I’ve been rereading Jude Deveraux’s books since she has about 40 now and it’s been a really long time since I’ve read most of them. I needed something to rekindle my love for books and I knew she’d do the trick. Any other books you think I should try to continue to shake me out of my reading slump?