Posted in Discussions

Yes, I’m A Book Blogger Who Doesn’t Like Book Reviews

It was midday and the passageway quiet and cool.

First line in Thick As Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner

Hi, today I wanted to explain why I’m weird. And maybe make you feel less weird because you feel similarly about book reviews. The title explains this post quite well: Why I find book reviews to be the least interesting blog posts, both to write and to read.

Why I Don’t Write Many Book Reviews

I felt the need to make a post about this because I often see the term ‘reviewer’ being used as a synonym for ‘book blogger’. It has made me feel a little odd because I don’t consider myself a “reviewer”, although I obviously identify with the book blogger term. I do write reviews on my blog, but if we’re talking full, dedicated reviews, I only do them for about 20% of my reads. The rest only get a mini-review in my wrap up posts, but I consider them more like “book chats” than actual reviews. I more or less focus on my reading experience instead of trying to “sell” them.

So why is this my approach? Well, mainly because I started a book blog to discuss the books I’ve already read. I wanted a place where I could talk about all the books I’m reading in detail and find out what other readers thought of the same books. My main goal has never been to get other people to read a book. If they happen to pick something up because I liked it, then great! But that’s still not the purpose of this blog. Which I can tell is a weird thing to say in the bookish community. The same goes for the #supportauthors thing that seems important to reviewers. It’s not a focus for me, but if it happens anyway, great! My blog is not a job for me and only something I do for fun in my spare time, so I don’t feel like I have any obligations of that sort, even though publishers are trying to convince me (and the community in general) of the opposite. I know this sounds kind of harsh, but it’s just a way to explain my thought processes. It’s not as if I go out of my way to NOT support authors. It’s just, again, not the point.

Why I Don’t Read Book Reviews

Why I don’t write a whole lot of reviews is only one part of this discussion. The other part is that I don’t read other people’s reviews either for the simple reason that I don’t want to add more books to my TBR. It’s long enough, and even though I avoid reviews, it’s still growing. I don’t have trouble finding good books to read. I do, however, have a few exceptions to the rule because I do read some reviews:

  1. I’ve already read the book being reviewed and want to discuss it.
  2. The book is already on my TBR, and I just need to know if the person liked it or not (I check the rating and quickly skim the review).
  3. It’s from one of the very few reviewers I know makes the kind of review I like. Not formulated like a sales-pitch, includes both negatives and positives, no matter if the rating was 5 or 1 star, etc.
  4. Multiple short reviews in one post e.g. a wrap-up post.

So why does it matter that I don’t read book reviews? Well, it matters in the sense that I sometimes find it difficult to support other book bloggers, which I really want to by reading their posts and commenting and all that. But if a blogger only writes book reviews… then I can’t. It has recently made me realized that I prefer BookTube content over book blogger content, simply because most of them do fewer reviews. I’m sure I’ve committed book-blogger-treason for saying that, especially with how little attention BookTubers pay book bloggers. However, I do find that friendly and important discussions are most often found on a book blog, and those are still my favorite type of content to consume. I just wish there were more of them.

Basically, I think there’s so much more to book blogging than writing book reviews. You can find so much amazing content where people are being creative, inquisitive or just flat-out entertaining. That is the type of content I love. Also, this is not me telling other bloggers to stop writing reviews. Please keep doing that if you love it! I simply want to highlight the fact that you don’t have to write a single book review to be a book blogger.

I would love to discuss this! What is your take on reviews? Both in terms of reading and writing them. What is your favorite type of content? If you watch BookTube, do you think their content differs from book blog content, and if so, what do you prefer? See you in the comments!

Posted in Wrap up

July Wrap Up

“He wont get out of there, I’m telling you,” the pockmarked man said, shaking his head with conviction.”

First line in Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski

Another month has gone. July was not the best reading month for me but I sort of expected that. My vacation from work was at the beginning of the month so you’d think that would give me more time to read. That’s not what happened. You see, I get most of my reading done on my commute to work so with that gone, I didn’t read that much.

I still managed to read 4 books in July. 3 fantasy and 1 historical fiction and let’s just say that my enjoyment level varied a lot. So, here you have four mini-reviews of the books I read in July.

The Red Scrolls of Magic (Book 1 in The Eldest Curses)

Author: Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu

Genre: YA urban fantasy

My rating: 3/5 stars

Synopsis: All Magnus Bane wanted was a vacation—a lavish trip across Europe with Alec Lightwood, the Shadowhunter who against all odds is finally his boyfriend. But as soon as the pair settles in Paris, an old friend arrives with news about a demon-worshipping cult called the Crimson Hand that is bent on causing chaos around the world. A cult that was apparently founded by Magnus himself. Years ago. As a joke.

Now Magnus and Alec must race across Europe to track down the Crimson Hand and its elusive new leader before the cult can cause any more damage. As if it wasn’t bad enough that their romantic getaway has been sidetracked, demons are now dogging their every step, and it is becoming harder to tell friend from foe. As their quest for answers becomes increasingly dire, Magnus and Alec will have to trust each other more than ever—even if it means revealing the secrets they’ve both been keeping (Goodreads).

My thoughts

It was very sweet but still quite far from being the best entry in the Shadowhunter World. It’s the book to read if you really love Magnus and Alec. If that’s not the case, you’re not missing out on much by not reading it. I have a full review up for it here if you want to know more about my mixed feelings concerning this book.

Salt to the Sea

Author: Ruta Sepetys

Genre: YA historical fiction

My rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis: World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety (Goodreads).

My thoughts

I enjoyed this very much. Even though the characters are fictional, the rest of it is real and that’s horrible to think about. It’s still an important story that needs to be told and I think that’s mainly the reason why this book stands out from other World War II books.

We follow four perspectives and those four characters have widely different backgrounds and stories. Their chapters are very short, so it was a bit confusing to begin with to tell them apart, but it got very clear along the way. I’m not sure the book needed four main characters though. One of them was very much cut off from the others and never really played a part in their story. He was mainly there to give information to the reader even though he was interesting enough. That’s just the only criticism I have of the book. The rest was so good, and people need to read it.

The Republic of Thieves (Book 3 in Gentleman Bastard)

Author: Scott Lynch

Genre: Fantasy

My rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis: With what should have been the greatest heist of their career gone spectacularly sour, Locke and his trusted partner, Jean, have barely escaped with their lives. Or at least Jean has. But Locke is slowly succumbing to a deadly poison that no alchemist or physiker can cure. Yet just as the end is near, a mysterious Bondsmage offers Locke an opportunity that will either save him or finish him off once and for all.

Magi political elections are imminent, and the factions are in need of a pawn. If Locke agrees to play the role, sorcery will be used to purge the venom from his body—though the process will be so excruciating he may well wish for death. Locke is opposed, but two factors cause his will to crumble: Jean’s imploring—and the Bondsmage’s mention of a woman from Locke’s past: Sabetha. She is the love of his life, his equal in skill and wit, and now, his greatest rival.

Locke was smitten with Sabetha from his first glimpse of her as a young fellow orphan and thief-in-training. But after a tumultuous courtship, Sabetha broke away. Now they will reunite in yet another clash of wills. For faced with his one and only match in both love and trickery, Locke must choose whether to fight Sabetha—or to woo her. It is a decision on which both their lives may depend (Goodreads).

My thoughts

This third book in the Gentleman Bastard just confirms that the series is still among my all-time favorites. I loved the introduction of Sabetha in this one even though I’d feared her arrival. We’ve gotten so many hints to her romance with Locke and I was afraid it would take over the plot but that wasn’t the case in my opinion. The writing is also just as great as in the previous books. I have a full review up for this if you want to know more about my thoughts.

Sword of Destiny (Book 2 in The Witcher)

Author: Andrzej Sapkowski

Genre: Fantasy

My rating: 2/5 stars

Synopsis: Geralt is a Witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent (Goodreads).

My thoughts

I was SO bored! The reason for this is probably because Sapkowski hasn’t made me care about anyone or anything. If something bad happened I only ever thought “okay”. I don’t particularly like any of the characters so I didn’t root for them either.

I’m not saying it’s a bad book necessarily but it just didn’t make me feel anything. I didn’t love anything but I didn’t hate anything either. Okay, I did hate the oversexualization of female characters but the first book had the same problem so I was expecting it. Please let me know if you liked this book and why.

That was it. Hopefully, I’ll be able to read some more in August but I’m planning to start some big books this month so my total number of books might not be much higher. Still, hope you enjoyed this. Let’s chat in the comments.