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Dear Story Siren (11)

Review Edition II

Dear Story Siren,

Do you write reviews/read books as they come out. Or is there a special notebook/word document where you keep reviews you write for future releases?


Dear Anonymous,

I try to have a review up for a title during it's release month or the surrounding months. It's doesn't always happen like that, but that is my goal. That being said I am a mood reader. I can't read a 'serious' book with I'm in the mood for something 'comedic and happy' so that plays a lot into what I'm reading and when I'm reading it. I don't always write my review right away, although I should and wish that I did! If I do happen to write a review before I'm planning on posting it, I usually write the review and schedule it for the future post date. Just in case something would happen I always save my reviews in a doc. file as well.

#1 procrastinator,
Story Siren

Dear Story Siren,

Thanks for answering the part about the TBR pile and the books you don't review. Lately I've been having authors inquire about when the review will be up regarding a book I was sent. What do you do with these inquiries???


Dear Anonymous,

I've actually never received an inquiry about when a review will be posted. However, I clearly state in my review policy that just because I accept a novel for review, that does not mean a review will be posted. Basically I never guarantee a review, because I can't always do it. I also do my best to mention that in any review inquiries that I receive.

BUT... if I was in this situation... I would likely be honest with my reply. Tell them if you do plan on reviewing it or if you don't. If you do plan on reviewing it, assure them of your plan, whether it's to say I'll be reading it tomorrow, or I have it worked into my schedule... and be sure to state that you will let them know when the book is read and the review is posted. And of course follow through with what you've said you will do.

Story Siren

Dear Story Siren,

I have only been blogging for about two months and I have a question for you about reviewing books. What do you do when you are reviewing a book that is part of a series and are afraid to spoil the earlier books for people? I wrote a review today that I felt was kind of vague because the description of book two is a major spoiler for book one. Do you just not review the book, post spoiler warnings on part of the review, or avoid mentioning plot specifics?

Thanks for your advice!

Book Reviewer

Dear Book Reviewer,

There are a lot of ways to handle this situation. You just need to figure out which one you prefer. I'm usually very vague in my reviews in general, just because I don't like going into detail and giving to much away... so I don't worry much about giving away plot details.

Just try to make it known in your post that this novel is part of a series and that there might possibly be spoilers in the summary or your review. If you want to point out the specific sections and give readers a heads up then, it's up to you. I'm pretty bad at giving good 'spoiler alerts' myself...

Regardless of how you do it, it is always a good idea to give some kind of warning!

Story Siren

Hey Kristi,

What do you do when you accept a personalized review request, attempt to read the book, and find that it's totally not your thing? Do you go ahead and write and post a critical review of it based on what little of the book you were able to read? Do you contact the author/publicist who sent you the book and let them know? And then what do you do with the book afterwards?



Dear Conflicted,

As I said earlier in a above question, I never guarantee a review, and I'm always sure to state that when accepting a request. I do that because I can't possible read and review every book I receive... but thinking about it now, it also helps me avoid sticky situations like this.

However, if I was in this situation and found that I couldn't finish a book, I most likely would not review it. I don't think you can give a honest review if you haven't read the book in it's entirety. You could post something highlighting the book and the reasons you were unable to finish, I did something like that recently with a few titles.

I would let the person who contacted you that you were unable to finish the book. As far as what to do with it... I know some bloggers do second chance contests, giving away books that they didn't enjoy hoping to find someone that will. You can give it to someone you know that might enjoy it, ask your library if they would accept it as a donation. Donate it to a literacy organization... a classroom library... any of those would work. The wonderful thing about books is, just because it wasn't the one for you, doesn't mean it won't make a difference for someone else.

Story Siren

Dear Story Siren,

Do you think that book bloggers should include that they didn't finish a book in their review? I know of a book blogger who doesn't finish a couple of books but doesn't mention that in her reviews.


Dear Anonymous,

You should definitely make your readers aware if you didn't finish a book. I don't think you can give a honest comprehensive review if you haven't read a book in it's entirety. To ignore that would be cheating your readers. Your credibility is something that you don't want to loose, it's not easily retainable.

Story Siren

Dear SS,

Do you think it is OK to review books without reading them first? I am overwhelmed--so I'll occasionally just skim a book and post a review instead of reading in deep detail. What do you think?

--Overwhelmed Reviewer

Dear Overwhelmed Reviewer,

Oh goodness... this has me gasping in horror and cringing at the same time. I would think common sense and a good conscience would be ringing a resounding "NO" in the air... but in case it's not clear... my answer would be NO!

Now, this isn't to say that I never skim over sections in a book... sometimes I just don't care about the description of a building or how the light from the moon illuminated the dress in it's entirety with it's lush flowing skirt and blah blah blah... but to skim over an entire book... yeah not a good idea.

Don't try to be a super-man/woman. No one is expecting you to be and you shouldn't expect yourself to be. Read what you can! There is no book blogging rule book that says you have to post a review and read a new book everyday. If you current book schedule is causing you to be overwhelmed, then you need to do something different, because obviously what you are doing is not working. I think people tend to forget that your blog is... YOURS... read and review what works for YOU. Yes, you might have readers that are expecting things... but I know if I was a reader I would be expecting the person reviewing the book to actually read it. I imagine your readers feel the same way.

As I said in response to the question above: I don't think you can give a honest comprehensive review if you haven't read a book in it's entirety. To ignore that would be cheating your readers. Your credibility is something that you don't want to loose, it's not easily retainable.

Story Siren

Dear Story Siren,

If you recieve a book for review that has already been released, how do you decide when to review it? Are books that are yet to be released a higher priority to review first?

From, Me

Dear Me,

Well it just depends. If it's a book that I accepted a review request for I'll try to get to it as soon as I can, but that doesn't always happen. Sometimes if my schedule is full and it's a hardcover, I'll wait to read and review it around the paperback release. If it's an unsolicited title, there are a few factors that come into play. For instance, is it something that I want to read, and do I have the time to work it into my reading schedule. That being said, I rarely receive books for review after their release date.

Story Siren

Dear Story Siren,

When is the best time to post reviews for ARC's? I tend to try and post them near the release date but there have been times where I've read a book and it's months till the release date and I'm never sure if I should post the review when I've read it (I know I could write the review and schedule the post but I'm not sure if it's necessary).

On one hand, I know the early reviews help hype up the book but I don't know if the reviews being too early could result in people having forgot about them by the time the book is out - do you know which publishers prefer? (round about the release date or just whenever?)

Sorry if I'm being a pest with this question, you just seem to know more about book blogging than any other blogger I've seen, you're like the Yoda of book blogging.


Dear Anonymous,

I've answered this question in an earlier edition of "Dear Story Siren":

'In my experience most of the readers of my blogs are actual readers themselves, and not necessarily book sellers or librarians... although I do have some librarians. But since most of my viewers are readers themselves it's better to post the review as close to the review date as possible, or when the book is available, that way if the person likes what they see, they will be able to find it next time they hit up the bookstore or head to the library. I usually forget about titles I hear about months before they come out by the time they hit the shelves.

There is a great post about when to post reviews on Reviewer X'

Dear Story Siren,

I've had at least two authors come to me asking if I'd like to review their book. I've answered them back saying I'd loved to. The first one asked me about what I thougth of their cover as their intended audience was for Young Adult and I gave them my honest opinion and haven't heard from them since. The other author asked if I could review it so I thought I was doing the right thing by saying if they would like to post it heres my address. AND I haven't heard from them either. I'm at wits end. What Am I doing wrong??

Very Confused Blogger

Dear Very Confused Blogger,

You are not doing anything wrong. There could be a variety of reasons why you haven't heard back from them. They could have just forgotten. Despite my earlier assumptions, authors are just people too! They have full inboxes, families, deadlines, edits... busy lives. I can hardly keep up with my inbox and I'm a big nobody, I can't imagine having thousands flooding your inbox everyday.

Did you happen to send a follow up email after not hearing back from them or after not receiving the title? If you haven't, that would be my suggestion. If you don't hear back from them after that, then I would probably just move on. There are too many fantastic books to discover, don't dwell on a couple mishaps. Don't take it personally, however it ends up turning out.

Story Siren

Dear Story Siren,

I recently received a book to review from a publisher. This isn't a book I requested or told it would be sent to me... it just arrived. While I read the genre I'm not really interested in reading it. I'm just wondering how you would precede with a situation like this?


Dear A,

This happens to me all the time. A lot of them end up on my 'hoping I can get to these' bookshelf. But I usually don't feel any obligation to read or review them. Especially if it's a genre I'm not interested in reading. And you shouldn't either.

Donate the book to your library or a classroom library, have a giveaway, try to get it into the hands of someone that will enjoy it. Possibly you know another reviewer that would enjoy it and be interested in reading and reviewing it on their site... ask them! That's what I do.

Story Siren

Dear Story Siren,

Do you send in review links to books you didn't receive for review, but are from that publisher?

ie. say i read The Mark, but I didn't get it for review, would you send in the link to your review?


Dear Anonymous,

I usually don't, but that would be a good question to ask your publishing contact. I'm not sure what the preference there is.

Story Siren

Dear Story Siren,

If I receive an ARC from a ARC tour should I send my review to the publisher and or the author?

Just Wondering

Dear Just Wondering,

If it's a positive book and you enjoyed the book, why not send it to the author. I probably wouldn't send it if you hated the book and gave it a negative review though... As for the publisher you might want to ask the person who hosts the tour what the preference is for that. Perhaps they are already collecting all the links and sending them in?

Story Siren

Dear Story Siren

I was wondering if I should post my reviews on other websites besides my blog. Such as Amazon and Goodreads.

Review Spreader

Hi Kristi,

I wanted to make sure: Is it okay to post the reviews for books you write on your blog word for word to Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, etc. Or do they frown upon doing that (having the same review in multiple places).


Dear Review Spreader & Michelle,

Yes do! The more visible a review is the better! Using the same review word for word is fine too... as long as it's your review you are reposting word for word. I usually do not repost the books summary if I'm positng on amazon, goodreads, b&n, etc.

Story Siren

Check out other general questions from real readers on other "Dear Story Siren" posts:

Dear Story Siren (1) (Contacting Author for interviews)
Dear Story Siren (2) (Asking for ARCs International/US)
Dear Story Siren (3) (Hours spend blogging, personal and Navigation bar questions)
Dear Story Siren (4) (Advance Reader Copies/Reviews questions)
Dear Story Siren (5) (Blogging 101 Volume 1)
Dear Story Siren (6) (Author Interviews Edition II)
Dear Story Siren (7) (Publisher Interaction/Asking for ARCs
Dear Story Siren (8) (The Personal Edition)
Dear Story Siren (9) (Followers Edition)

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Dear Story Siren (11) + TIME