21

5 Reasons Why You Should Pick Up THE BREAKDOWN

The Breakdown

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Adult

Rating: 4 STARS

Series: None

Release Date: July 18, 2017 (today!)

Synopsis: 

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside—the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…

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“Mikaela, are you reviewing on a Tuesday???” I know, I know; I’ve broken my schedule (which I truly, truly hate). But, I wasn’t able to get this up yesterday, so I’m putting it up today, just in time for this book’s publication date! Hopefully, this will be the first and last time I do this.

1. I thought it was addicting. I mean, of course it was. I didn’t expect anything less from B.A. Paris, to be honest. As soon as I read the first chapter, I knew I was hooked, and I ended up reading this in a day. I CAN’T HELP MYSELF WHEN IT COMES TO B.A. PARIS. I know most people really appreciate having an addictive psychological thriller to read, and this one definitely fits the bill.

2. Cass was a great main character. I absolutely loved being in her point-of-view for the entirety of the book! It’s very easy to be sympathetic to her situation, especially since imagining yourself in her shoes is actually terrifying. I know I’m also one who can be quite paranoid about dumb things, especially when it’s at night and I think I’m hearing noises that aren’t even there and completely over-thinking the worst-case scenario in situations that really aren’t that bad, so I could definitely relate to her and understand how she felt. If I told you guys the type of paranoia I have about some serial killer coming to get me at night, it probably sounds dumb to you, but it makes sense to me, so I definitely understood the predicament she was caught up in.

3. It was different from Behind Closed Doors. I actually loved Behind Closed Doors, but I know some people might not like it that much, and worry that this one won’t be too good. I actually thought this was quite different, and had more of a mystery feel than her previous domestic thriller feel. It definitely still had that element of psychological suspense that I really loved and was extremely addicting, of course, but I’m glad that it shows that Paris can branch out if she wants to!

4. The writing was fantastic. I talked a bit earlier in this review about how it really captured how it felt to be paranoid, and that’s what made the writing SO GOOD. Her writing also managed to make the book so suspenseful and kept me turning the pages, which is always good for a thriller.

5. I absolutely loved the ending. I really, really did! I’ve been a bit frustrated with some thrillers when it comes to their endings since some seem to build up to some out-of-this world ending that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, but this one ended up having not just a pretty realistic ending, but a shocking ending, showing that thriller endings don’t have to be outlandish to be good. Not only that, but it also managed to tie up the story in a neat little bow, which will make a lot of readers happy.

All in all, B.A. Paris has done it again! I can’t wait to see what she puts out next!

A huge thank you to St. Martin’s Press for giving me an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley; I truly appreciate it!  

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12

[ARC REVIEW] Reasons Why I Fell In Love With FINAL GIRLS (And Why You Should, Too)

final Girls

Genre: Horror, Thriller, Suspense, Adult

Series: None

Rating: 5 STARS

Release Date: July 11, 2017

Description:

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

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Holy crap. Well, that was amazing. I don’t know if you guys know this about me, but this was one of my most anticipated releases of the year. I heard about this book through bookstagram, and as soon as I read the description, I fell in love. Horrors and thrillers have quickly become my two favorite genres after I dived into them for the first time in the last half of the year, and this sounded like a brilliant combination of both. And after hearing good review after good review, I knew I just had to have it. So imagine how happy I was to see that the book was available for request on Netgalley, and how shocked I was when I was actually approved to read it. Whaaat?

This book was just as amazing as the synopsis hyped it up to be. Kudos to whoever wrote that description to draw me in. I’m one of those people that is usually drawn in from the title, and from there, the description. And, sometimes, you read a book and it ends up not delivering to your own expectations. But, wow, did this one completely deliver and blow me away. I couldn’t really tell what the true mystery would be just by reading the synopsis, which I’m thankful for, because it just made the book all the more addicting and leaves you with the feeling of constantly wanting to know what’s going to happen next.

The pacing for this one was perfect. Right off the bat, you’re pulled into the action, and then yanked out into the present. I would say that there’s not a single dull moment in this book. As soon as I started reading the book, I just. Couldn’t. Stop. I needed to know what was going on, what Quincy was going to get herself involved in, what the memories of Pine Cottage would reveal next. This book is basically the definition of “Just one more chapter!” (and I’m sure all my fellow bookworms will understand this). There are several plot twists, but unlike some thrillers I’ve read, they weren’t gimmicky and didn’t feel tacked on to make the book some unpredictable mess. All the twists had clues and a little bit of foreshadowing that when you find out something happens, you’ll be angry at yourself for not noticing it before.

I really enjoyed the cast of characters in this one. Quincy is a complicated character in and of herself, since she feels as if her past and present are colliding, and she just wants to be seen as a normal person. I quickly grew to liking her and cheering her on, even though she made some decisions that might make some frustrated, but I felt like it was realistic and true to her character, especially after what she’d suffered through. Sam is a complicated character, who I feel you’ll either totally love or totally hate, since she can definitely be a bit much, but I won’t dwell on her character too much because she’s more of a person you’ll want to figure out for yourself. We also have Coop, who I truly loved, and was such an interesting character, one who I brushed aside at first.

The ending was absolutely fantastic. I loved how everything tied together so well, and when everything is revealed, it’s truly shocking. I’m definitely not going to spoil anything, but I’m glad that I was knocked so hard off my feet at the revelations. It’s good to know that even though it sometimes feels like some genres are quickly becoming too formulaic, that horrors and thrillers can still manage to keep me on my toes.

Please add this to your reading list. You will definitely not regret it.

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A huge thank you to Dutton for giving me an e-ARC of this novel via Netgalley! This was actually the first e-ARC I ever received on the site, and I’m still shocked because I literally only had about twenty or so followers at that time, so thank you so much for giving me a chance! 

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27

Bite-Sized Reviews | The “WTF Did I Just Read?” Edition

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Good news has come: I HAVE BROKEN MY DAMN READING SLUMP!

I thought that the reason I had one was because of reading fantasy, but I think it’s actually because of all these sequels and finales I’ve been attempting to read, but just am not in the mood for. So, at the moment, I’m going to be taking a break from sequels until I’m in the mood for them because I MISSED READING BOOKS SO MUCH.

Anyway, for some reason, I made a terrible decision to go around requesting Netgalley books over the last few months, then getting accepted for them, and then saying, “Well, the book’s not going to be published FOR MONTHS, so I don’t have to worry about it, right?” WRONG. Summer comes upon me, and I realize that I apparently ALL THE BOOKS ARE COMING OUT IN JULY. AND ON THE SAME DAY. WHICH IS TUESDAY. PUBLISHERS ARE WEIRD.

So, since I have way too many July books coming out on similar dates (seriously, there are 31 damn days in July. Why can’t they just space it out???), I thought I’d go ahead and do some mini reviews to take the load off!

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The Revenge

Genre: Thriller

Series: None

Rating: 1 STAR

Release Date: July 1, 2017

Synopsis:

Break ups can be messy. After his ex-girlfriend Hope embarrasses him in front of the entire school, Tony wants revenge. So he signs her up for online dating sites, subscriptions, and even makes the location of her phone public. And it works. A few days later, Hope calls begging Tony to stop the prank. Then Hope screams and a car door slams. The call drops.

Tony tries to keep cool. It’s just like Hope to get back at him with more drama. But when Hope isn’t at school the next day, Tony knows the joke has gone too far-and he may have lead a predator right to his ex’s door. Can Tony find Hope and save her before it’s too late for both of them?

My Thoughts

Um…WTF? This book honestly left me speechless. Like most YA thrillers I hated, the only credit I can give it is that it was addicting…and that’s basically it. The characters were completely forgettable, the writing wasn’t that good, and it was just…weird? I literally can’t put into words how much this didn’t make sense. And the ending was SO OPEN. Like, it just ended, and when I saw that there were acknowledgements, I flipped back to see if I had missed something because that couldn’t possibly have been the end. But, nope, that was it. Basically, this was the poor man’s version of Gone Girl. Like, a REALLY poor man’s version of Gone Girl.

In Summary: 

what just happened here

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waste-of-space

Genre: Contemporary

Series: None

Rating: 3 STARS

Release Date: July 11, 2017

Synopsis: 

Cram ten hormonal teens into a spaceship and blast off: that’s the premise for the ill-conceived reality show Waste of Space. The kids who are cast know everything about drama—and nothing about the fact that the production is fake. Hidden in a desert warehouse, their spaceship replica is equipped with state-of-the-art special effects dreamed up by the scientists partnering with the shady cable network airing the show.    

And it’s a hit! Millions of viewers are transfixed. But then, suddenly, all communication is severed. Trapped and paranoid, the kids must figure out what to do when this reality show loses its grip on reality.   

My Thoughts

And we have another “WTF?” book, except on a totally different scale! I guess you could say that it was contemporary, but then a little sci-fi ended up being thrown in at the end, so was it magical realism? WHO KNOWS? This was basically making fun of reality shows, and I actually enjoyed how satirical it was and how it poked fun at itself! It was also formatted to include interviews and transcripts, so think Illuminae, except all the science stuff is fake? This is honestly the hardest book to rate ever, because I didn’t enjoy it, but I didn’t hate it? So, three stars it is, I guess!

In Summary:

Question Marks

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The Inside Dark

Genre: Thriller

Series: None

Rating: 4 STARS

Release Date: July 11, 2017

Synopsis:

Five days ago, aspiring crime novelist Jason Swike awoke chained to the wall of a run-down horse stable, convinced he would soon die at the hands of Crackerjack, the infamous serial killer who had terrorized the residents of Massachusetts for the past year—capturing and tormenting men, painting whimsical designs on their faces before shattering their bones and ending their lives. Just when death seems inevitable, Jason, with the help of another captive, manages to kill the madman and escape.

Hailed as a hero, Jason reaps the benefits of his newfound fame: a book deal, a possible reconciliation with his estranged wife, and reward money he can use to pay for his son’s costly medical treatments. But he soon realizes the nightmare that began in the deserted stable is far from over, as he is drawn into a twisted game where the darkest terror may not be the psychopath manipulating his every move, but what Jason may have to do to survive…

My Thoughts

I absolutely devoured this one! I was really happy that the synopsis was so vague because that’s what made the book so entertaining – you think that the book doesn’t have enough material to carry on, but then BAM! Something happens halfway through and you just can’t stop reading because it’s so tense! I enjoyed seeing all the POVs in the story, and the ending was SO GOOD. This reminded me of Jeff Strand’s Pressure (which I loved!), but if you haven’t read that book, don’t bother looking it up because the synopsis will spoil you for this one. Overall, I really enjoyed it, and I hope to get to some of his other books soon!

In Summary:

Thumbs Up 3

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A huge thank you to Sourcebooks Fire, HMH Children’s Book Group, and Thomas and Mercer for the e-ARCS via Netgalley!  

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25

5 Reasons Why You Should Be Adding WANT To Your TBR

 

Want.jpg

Genre: Sci-fi, Dystopian, YA

Rating: 4 STARS

Series: Want #1

Release Date: June 13

Synopsis:

From critically acclaimed author Cindy Pon comes an edge-of-your-seat sci-fi thriller, set in a near-future Taipei plagued by pollution, about a group of teens who risk everything to save their city.

Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits, protecting them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.

With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.

Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is, or destroying his own heart?

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I will say, I didn’t even really have this book on my radar until I was so intrigued by the cover, I caved and decided to add it to my TBR, then went ahead and requested it. I’m so glad I was accepted for this one because I can only say that I freaking loved it.

1. The romance was amazing. So, we have this angst-y, forbidden, sexually tense romance between Daiyu and Zhou, and before you roll your eyes and groan, this romance was incredibly done well. There was absolutely no insta-love (in fact, they never say they love each other AT ALL. What is this sorcery?), and it’s all wonderful slow-burn and sexual tension. And when they finally get together, it’s like magic. I’m usually not one to get heart eyes over a ship where the both of them are on different sides of the track, but I loved it.

(Sidenote, I also ship Lingyi and Iris SO HARD. I would not be against a book entirely dedicated to the two of them being cute. Just saying.)

2. The characters were amazing. First of all, this book had a gang at a center of it, and I’m a sucker for any sort of gang or squad – think the Dregs from Six of Crows or the Night Court from the A Court of Thorns and Roses Series – so I was into it. But I absolutely loved all the individual characters and what they brought to the table!

We have Zhou, our wonderful main character who decides to act as the spy, Victor, who is sleek and sauve and hilarious, Arun, who is the scientist, Lingyi, who is the hacker, and Iris, who reminds me so much of Black Widow, and I love her, so it was great. And Daiyu, who isn’t part of the gang but is Zhou’s love interest who is strong and smart and stands on her own. I’m loving this rise of smart girls over ones who can kick ass 24/7 (even though I love those as well). I WANT THEM ALL TO BE MY FRIENDS. I just loved the interactions and relationship between Zhou and the gang, especially near the end.

3. It had great world-building. First off, this book took place in Taiwan, which I’ve never really seen as a setting before, so it was really awesome to have a book take place somewhere different and diverse. I also thought that a world that’s falling apart because of pollution and global warming was pretty much right on the nose considering the fact that Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement a couple of weeks ago, so it was interesting to see a sci-fi future like this.

4. It was a perfect sci-fi novel. I’ve definitely become more obsessed with sci-fi over the last year, but I haven’t read enough it, and I’m SO glad I had the opportunity to read this one. This one was more of a cross between dystopian and speculative sci-fi (which is my favorite type of sci-fi), and did a fantastic job of holding up a mirror to things such as privilege, class, and taking care of the environment. It was just done SO WELL, and I applaud Pon for it.

5. Basically, it was amazing. If I had to describe this book in any way, it’d be Six of Crows meets Red RisingSix of Crows because of the characters and the aspect of them being in a group and Red Rising because of the whole “lower class goes undercover in the upper class” ruse, which I totally love. So, it was two of my favorite series in one, and I couldn’t be happier. Not to mention that even though this had long chapters, the pacing was still perfect and kept me addicted. AND I WANT MORE. I saw on Goodreads that this might have a sequel, which I’m eternally thankful for. I NEED ONE.

Basically, you will not regret adding this book to your TBR. It’s definitely worth it, and I highly recommend it, obviously.

A huge thanks to Simon and Schuster for giving me an e-ARC of this book, especially since I enjoyed it so much!

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14

5 Reasons Why HELLWORLD Disappointed Me

Hellworld Photo

Genre: Horror, Paranormal

Series: None

Rating: 1 STAR

Synopsis: 

Five years ago, Abby Booth’s mom, co-host of a ghost hunting reality show, went missing while filming in a ‘haunted’ cave in Arizona.

Since then, Abby’s life has all but fallen to pieces, most notably because of her dad’s deep depression and how they’ve drifted further and further apart.

But now, at seventeen, Abby has decided that things will change. She plans to go to the same cave where her mom and the crew went missing and to find out, once and for all, what happened there.

With the help of the co-host’s son Charlie and two of his friends, Abby sets off on a quest for answers…but what the group ends up finding, what they stumble across in that dark, primordial cave in Arizona, is nothing they could have ever imagined.

Abby was investigating a possible haunting… she never expected that there could be something worse.

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If you saw my Anticipated Spring Releases post, you’ll know I was excited for this book! I love a good YA horror novel, so I was ready to dive into it and fall completely in love with it. Unfortunately, that did not happen. At all.

1. The characters were boring. So, we have our main character, Abby, who really wants to find her mom. Charlie, who’s basically just the love interest and there to look hot. Maybe he did something else in this book, but if he did, I don’t remember. Selby, who’s there to serve as a mechanism of girl hate – because we need more of that. And Alex, who I actually really liked…and, oh, never mind, he’s dead (you figure this out within the first chapter, so no spoilers). Basically flat characters fitting an equally flat book.

2. It didn’t know what it wanted to be. At first, I thought it was a horror, because that’s how it’s marked. Then, somewhere in the middle, it transformed into some post-apocalyptic novel with a mix of paranormal elements. And not to forget the fact that this also somehow managed to combine sci-fi AND Biblical mythology all at once. Did it work? Not necessarily. It just seemed like the book went all over the place and that there wasn’t really a clear direction.

3. The romance was ridiculous and unnecessary. And, yet again, we have a YA novel that shoves in a romance THAT IS NOT NEEDED. AT ALL. And it was a terrible one to boot. Basically, Abby hasn’t seen Charlie in YEARS, and had a crush on him back in elementary school, and for some reason, she’s still swooning over him in the present. And even though Charlie has a girlfriend, apparently a couple of hours together causes him to CHEAT ON HER by making out with Abby. Because insta-love is real, apparently. Please wait while I roll my eyes.

4. There were too many plot conveniences. Seriously, there was this one chapter near the end that was actually ridiculous and managed to happen right after the characters were stuck and couldn’t figure anything out. So, out of the blue, the thing they were looking for mysteriously appears for them. In the middle of the apocalypse. Really?

5. WTF was that ending? Seriously, what was it? We have the most random plot twist in the history of ever. And then the book just…ends. And that’s it. No explanation of the plot twist, no implications of what might happen in the future, no answers to anything that happened. Nada. I mean, maybe it’s supposed to be an open ending, but it’s not done well.

Overall, this book was just really disappointing. Nothing is more annoying than another lackluster YA horror, especially since they come so few and far in between, but this one was just…bleh. Pick up Gretchen McNeil’s Ten instead, or The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich.

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81

[LET’S CHAT] Should Book Reviews Be Subjective or Objective?

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Apparently, I’m on a roll with Let’s Chats about reviewing this month!

I thought a nice blogging-related topic would be talking about book reviews, in some sort of capacity. I talked about book reviews earlier this month (and was unexpectedly successful), but this month, I wanted to talk about HOW you should write book reviews. There’s always been a constant chatter about whether book reviews should be written as a subjective viewpoint or from an objective viewpoint, and even some talk about whether you should recommend a book you personally didn’t like.

I review subjectively. Mainly because I like to keep track of my own thoughts and opinions on a book, and I don’t believe that I should rate a book higher or lower depending on how the general public should receive it, but I know there are some people who think completely different on the subject. So, I thought it’d be nice to present some pros and cons for both – subjective and objective reviews.

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1. People can know your accurate thoughts. I know that when I’m reading a review from a subjective viewpoint, it means I know the reviewer’s thoughts on the book. Not only that, but it means I learn more about the reviewer and their likes and dislikes, so I can recommend books to them I think they might like!

2. If you share the same opinions as that reviewer, it will help your decision. If I know that that reviewer has the same taste in books as I do or I just trust their reviews in general, then I know if I should spend my time and/or money on the book! It’s always nice to have people who have the same viewpoints in your Reader.

3. You can keep track of your own personal thoughts on books. I know it’s much better for me to keep track of my opinions on books if I talk about my feelings and ratings regarding them. How would I be able to know how I felt about books if I only rated and reviewed them from a critical standpoint?

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1. They might be biased. I mean, duh. We’re all susceptible to our favorite tropes, a cool concept, or our favorite authors. I mean, do you think I’d be able to resist giving a Sarah J. Maas thriller novel or a V.E. Schwab magical realism novel five stars, whether they’re flawed or not? I don’t think so. I’m weak. We all are when it comes to our favorite things.

2. People might not trust your opinion. This could link back to point number one. If people know you’re biased against or for a certain author or trope or series, they might not be able to trust your opinion on that specific author or trope or series and turn to a more critical reviewer that will look at all sides.

3. We all see things differently. I mean, duh. Books are a form of art, and art is always open to interpretation, therefore all bookworms will see things differently. I mean, even for a hyped book that seems loved by everyone – like Six of Crows – there are still one-star reviews for it on Goodreads if you go looking out for them. So a book that you love might be the worst book to someone else, and subjective reviews might not help others. Not to mention that some books are more important to others than they would be to you, which might not help others either.

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1. Your reviews aren’t biased. Again, another obvious one. I mentioned this point before earlier, but it’ll definitely help others if you’re not attached to a certain series or author to the point where you can’t give them less than five stars.

2. You can observe the book critically. This is always a good thing! I mean, it’s definitely nice to know that you have the ability to separate your personal feelings from reviewing something since it’s hard for SO MANY people to do that in not just reviewing books, but just all facets of life.

3. It will improve your general skills of taking things apart. I mean, this might not be as applicable to those who are already adults, but if you’re still in school, it’s always nice to develop a sort of skill for being able to observe things from a critical standpoint. I mean, I know I suck at reports in general, so this would be a big additional help.

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1. You might not trust the reviewer. I mean, it’s a bit hard to be able to trust somebody if they say the only reason they like a book is because it’s objectively good. I can name lots of books that I think were good objectively, but I still absolutely hated them and gave them a one star, so it really means nothing to me in the long run.

2. It makes reading less fun. I’ve seen lots of people say that blogging has made them more critical regarding reviews, but it’ll probably be even worse once you start reviewing objectively. You’ll have to look at all the details, read carefully, find quotes backing up evidence, keep track of notes, etc. And, personally, I just read a book because I like reading, damn it! And it wouldn’t be fun to have to keep track of all my thoughts while doing that.

3. You’ll have unrealistic expectations for books. I know that when I often followed snarky reviewers on Goodreads, they often had these crazy high expectations for books sometimes, and I feel like we sometimes do, too. I mean, no matter what, there’s no such thing as an objectively perfect book, and it might ruin the fun of reading and reviewing if you have to examine every little flaw and can’t enjoy a book for what it is.

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And those are just a few of the pros and cons I could think of!

We as book reviewers all have different opinions on how we should review, but I don’t think we should stress about it. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t think people who review books owe anything to anyone – they can like and dislike any book they’d like, can rate a book the way they’d like to, or read a book however they want to – and they shouldn’t stop reviewing just because they don’t do a thing you don’t like (I’ve seen people say this and just…what???). Much like how authors don’t owe readers anything whatsoever; it’s their work at the end of the day.

So, it’s all up to you whether you review subjectively or objectively! Though I personally review subjectively, we are free to review however way we want to!

Let's Chat

Do you review subjectively or objectively? Which type of review do you prefer reading? What are your thoughts about both?

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73

[LET’S CHAT] The Pros and Cons of Writing Book Reviews

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Yeah, it’s time for another edition of Let’s Chat! This one centers around a pretty interesting concept to me, and some thoughts I’ve been having.

I really got this idea from a super old discussion post from Briana @ Pages Unbound, where she talked about some blogs considering running without book reviews (obviously, I highly recommend checking it out).

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This honestly got me thinking because confession time: I don’t like writing reviews.

Yes, some of my reviews are easier to write because I have a lot of feelings – whether those feelings are positive or negative is up to how I feel about the book – but what do I do for books that are just meh? Or if I continue a series, and I feel as if I’m repeating the same things about each book over and over again? Or for an ARC I DNF?

As you guys know if you’ve been around for a while, I still do reviews! I post reviews once a week, and then something non-review for the other three days. Personally, this schedule has worked for me, and I will probably continue with this schedule unless something changes or I do something drastic with my blog out of nowhere. But I wanted to look at some reasons as to why people would give up doing reviews and some reasons why people would continue doing reviews (a.k.a. I basically sort out my thoughts through writing).

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Keep Writing Reviews

1. I want ARCs. I’m sure everyone in the book blogging community knows about Advanced Review Copies, and, as you can tell, you sort of have to review them. I can’t imagine publishers are going to be too happy if you request a book, and they find out that you don’t even write or publish reviews anymore. And, yes, I love getting ARCs via Netgalley, and I’d love to eventually delve into the world of physical ARCs, and I have to review books to get there. I know; I’m shallow.

2. I want bookworms to broaden their horizons. Really, this can mean anything. Personally, my reason for starting to blog was the fact that I wanted to sort of bridge the gap between YA and Adult, since I’ve seen so many people see they’re tired of YA, but don’t actually go out to read adult books, because they don’t know where to start. So, I’m here to read and review some blog posts since I took the plunge last year and haven’t looked back. I don’t know if anyone has ever read said books because of my reviews, but if you do, that’s awesome! For other people, I know it’s reading fantasy or dystopian if all they usually read is contemporary, or maybe reading some YA after reading so many adult novels.

3. We want to share our love of books (or rant). I mean, nothing is more fun than raving about a book that you feel isn’t getting enough attention, or reviewing an ARC that you’re so excited to come out so everyone can get their hands on it. And there’s also the other side, where you get to rant about a book that really disappointed you or you want to warn someone else about something that you know that person won’t like, such as the dreaded insta-love.

4. It brings the book community together. I always anticipate posting reviews for popular books everyone has read except for me (which happens so often, and way more than it should) because I can finally gush about all my ~feelings~ without sounding weird to everyone else. In real life, I don’t know too many people who are fans of books, so this is pretty much one of the few places where I feel like I can talk about books, and people understand what the heck I’m talking about. How else would I be able to talk about horrible cliffhangers or heart-breaking deaths or how good a book is.

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Stop Writing Reviews

1. I can still get ARCs. I know I said this in the previous part, BUT you really don’t have to have a blog anymore to receive ARCs. If you have a large enough following on Instagram, for instance, you can receive boxes of book mail and early releases, and a large majority of those people don’t have a blog at all. I will say, I think it’s ten times harder to get over 50k followers on Instagram than it is to get some traction on your reviews. In fact, I think Instagram is the hardest place to get connection and interaction, because you can do literally nothing wrong, and six people could unfollow you overnight, so there’s that. But, still, you could do it!

2. No one really reads reviews. I know there’s sort of a stigma in the book blogging community that people don’t really read reviews. I will say that this sort of rings true. Honestly, unless it’s a book I’m anticipating or I’ve heard a lot about, I’ll probably just like it and move on. And, personally, reviews are the least interesting thing on blogs for me. I do follow some blogs that primarily do nothing but reviews, but those are mostly niche ones – thrillers and mysteries, to be exact – and I think it’s a bit harder to do that for YA books and keep people coming back, probably because there’s a larger audience. I’m a bigger fan of advice posts, discussions, recommendations, etc.

3. I don’t like writing them. Like I said earlier, I just don’t like writing reviews. I can do them, of course, but I’d rather spend my time writing any other type of blog post, and it’s definitely something I have to be in the mood for. So, I can definitely understand if someone just stops doing reviews, because if they hate writing them, and only 20 people are actually reading them, then why continue writing them?

4. You have to be reading. I think a problem for some people is the fact that they might not read too fast, or they could read a book and not find it good enough to review, but don’t have anything else to write about or can’t think up any good ideas. Of course, you could totally take a break from reviewing, but for some people who want to have a couple of reviews up per week or the ones that their entire blog is dedicated to just reviews and blog tours, it might be a challenge finding the time to read a book and then finally write a review for it.

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These are probably some of the more basic pros and cons for continuing to write reviews.

In the end, though, I’ll probably still keep on writing reviews, and, honestly, I’ll probably mainly do it so I can at least have a shot at getting ARCs. And I occasionally enjoy blabbing about my thoughts as well.

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How do you feel about reviewing books? Would you still keep up with a book blog that doesn’t review books at all? What are your reasons to review books?

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