First, today is my 4 year wedding anniversary. Yay for marriage!
You may have noticed over the past few weeks that the blog has been a little light on the review side. This is not due to an absence of reading. It’s quite the opposite really. I’ve been reading like a crazy person trying to burn my way through my eARC list. The lack of reviews is due entirely to my lack of inspiration to write them. I have at least 12 novels in my drafts folder right now that need to be reviewed. Some of them were novels I loved, like Model Misfit by Holly Smale. Some were novels I had high expectations for but they failed to meet them, like Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu. Some were just plain mediocre, like Game For Marriage by Karen Erickson. But in all cases, I just don’t know what to say. My words have deserted me. To help combat this (and to prevent my to-be-reviewed shelf from getting monstrously large), I have penciled in when the reviews for each book will be posted and I hope that will help me stay on track.
I seriously just don’t know what to say. I sit down with every intention to write and get through the synopsis and then just stare at the computer screen. I feel like I’m just repeating the exact same things over and over again. Or worse, I have nothing at all to say about the book. Here is book A. I really enjoyed it! The characters were great, the plot was interesting, and the writing was superb. Go get yourself a copy! ::end of review:: Some how, I don’t think anyone would be satisfied with that, least of all me. I feel like most of the books I’ve read lately have been at the four star level. That’s great because it means I haven’t read many that I haven’t enjoyed, but I always have a hard time articulating why the novel gets four stars instead of five. I actually have mini arguments with myself over why I rated it that way. The basic answer? I go with my gut. If I absolutely loved the novel in that must read more, have to know what happens next way, then I give it five stars. If the novel gets me thinking and has ideas floating around my head or brings out my emotions in an epic way, then 5 stars it is. If the book is awesome, but somehow missing that level of emotional involvement from me, then it gets 4 stars. It makes logical sense when I lay it out that way, but I don’t want to put that spiel in every single review. I feel I need to justify why I rated the book a certain way because I know that there will be people out there who read a 4 star review will no negative comments and wonder what exactly made me knock it down from 5. The truth is that all novels start out with a 0 star rating in my head and must build up from there. There are exceptions where I’m expecting to rate a book high, like anything Katie McGarry writes or Julia Quinn or a handful of other authors that rarely let me down, but I start out with 0 in general.
Add to that the constant stress of knowing that there are many books I need to read and review and I’m near the point of hiding under my desk with stress. I know you guys hear blogger’s complain about their massive TBR piles all the time and I know how that sounds. Before I became a reviewer, I wanted to smack every single blogger who complained about all the books they had to read. Dude, you are getting free books! Shut your mouth! But I really get it now. I had been reviewing books for well over a year when I started this blog, but it wasn’t until I started this blog that I created an actual list of all the books I had received for review but had yet to read or review. That moment was quite astounding. When you first start reviewing, you request every single book that you really want on NetGalley & Edelweiss and get denied almost all of them. Big time publishing companies don’t approve people who have just started. They want to see your dedication to the craft of reviewing and they want to know they are actually going to get a review for the novel they allow you to read. Once you realize that you aren’t going to get approved for anything you desperately want, you start requesting smaller things, independent things. The mentality being that you’ll read anything they give you for free. So you get approved for two or three, but you get bored with them. If you are like me, you abhor the thought of DNF-ing if at all avoidable, so you take a break from trying to read those and read the things you purchased yourself that you want to read. Then you request a few more thinking these will be better, but the same thing happens. Then the amazing thing of getting approved for titles you actually really want happens and you forget all about the bad ones that you are avoiding. Then you get auto-approved for a few publishers and you go nuts with downloading everything they offer you. Then you really start to think about how many books you have downloaded and a stress headache immediately descends.
The moment I created an actual list of all those books completely took me by surprise. There is a big difference between having a mental idea of which books you need to read and review and seeing a real numbered list. Since that moment, I have put myself on a strict only read what’s on the list ban. There have been exceptions. If I am taking a long road trip, I’ll listen to something else or if it’s just something I can’t resist. And my husband and I listen to things together a lot. First it was the Veronica Mars books and now we are working through the Lunar Chronicles. But for the biggest part, I read only things that are on that list or directly related to it. Doing that, you’d think, would allow me to finish up that list relatively quickly, but that is not the case. The list of novels up for review is updated daily. I have limited myself and I don’t download something unless I really (really) want it, but still, it adds to the list. Basically, I feel buried underneath a massive pile of eARCs and I don’t think I’m ever going to get out. Sometimes I really tempted to just let the ones with past release dates slide off my list, but I just can’t. I requested it. I should at least try to read it.
Anyway, that is my rambling way of saying that reviews will resume soon, hopefully this week, if I can find the time and the inspiration to write decent ones.