Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Bad reviews, Teasers, and Subjectivity, Oh My!

How a bad review and displaced teasers almost kept me from a great book:
(Also known as, Lessons from Stage Dive)

Last year, I read Lick by Kylie Scott and completely loved it. I raved about it in my review. I friended her on both Goodreads and Facebook. I calendared the release date for the second book, Play, so I could read it when it came out. I was so happy to have found a new author who writes great books.
Then, the unfortunate happened. The teasers for Play, book 2, started coming. I thought to myself, "Hmm, not sure about these teasers. What is this book really going to be about?" Of course, teasers do serve a purpose. Gives you a taste of what to expect. But teasers can go both ways for me - pulling me into the story or turning me off.

My Problems with Teasers:
1. Too much spoiler potential. I really don't want to know what happens during the story. I like to discover it on my own.
2. If done too often, they give away all the best parts of the book. It's like those movie trailers for comedies that give away all the good jokes, then you watch the movie and you think, meh.
3. They are taken out of context of the scene. Of course, I know that's the point of a teaser. I just don't like it. Context is important to me.
So, then I decided to read some reviews when Play came out. Now there were a lot of good reviews, but for some reason, one of the bad reviews stuck. It stuck in my head, and after my initial trepidation, I found myself nodding in agreement that this wasn't the book for me. So Play was ignored, other books were moved to the forefront, and my reading life was just fine.
Fast-forward to Lead, book 3, and it's imminent release. I was much better about ignoring teasers this time around. I also avoided reviews. Because I really wanted to read more about the band, and I hoped that Lead would restore my fan-status. But then I read the prologue for Lead, and I just knew I needed to read Play. I felt like something was missing, and I really wanted to know the story between books 1 and 3. So I set Lead aside and bought Play.
Well, what do you know? I completely loved Play. I mean, really loved it! Not a complaint to be found. Actually, one complaint: that I almost didn't read it due to that bad review. So I flew through Play, then immediately read Lead (which I also loved), reading them both in less than 72 hours. I loved them both, and am a restored Kylie Scott fan!
 So why the lengthy story?
To say that reviews are mostly subjective. People have opinions. I have opinions. We all have opinions. And reading preferences are very individual. I have loved books others have hated and hated books others have loved. Some reviewer opinions I respect more than others, but even then our tastes may differ. Some reviews are insightful, some are emotional, some are scholarly, some are clinical, some are mean-spirited, some are fan-girly, some are bogus, some are genius... you get my drift.
This isn't to say that bad reviews should be ignored. Some have saved me from making a bad reading decision. This also doesn't mean that good reviews should be lauded. Some have lead me astray. It just means that they are opinions of that person, and it is your choice whether or not you let their opinion persuade you or not. It simply means that they are a tool, and you can use them how you like them.

My Take Away Reminders:
Teasers: Beware of context and spoilers. Know my limits.
Reviews: Use them as a tool, but remember they are subjective.
Trust & Go For It: Trust my instincts. I know myself, right? But be willing to take risks too.

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