Saturday, August 25, 2018

Have Bloggers Lost the Ability to be Readers?


Here we are again, me trying to explain to others my star rating system. Now, what spurred me on the defensive was this came from a fellow book blogger that explained I was 'devaluing' my spot in the book universe for always giving 4-5 stars.

I decided to give this statement some thought before I began finger punching the debate on the keyboard. I have been and always will be picky reader - of sorts. It has to be the author's storytelling that appeals to whatever invisible bar setting I have.  I will state that certain tropes appeal more so than others. But once I find an author that works for me, I stick with a good thing.  Tropes be damned. They write, I will read it.

In thinking about this further, I realize the competitive nature of blogging. Bloggers need to get more followers, keep more followers so that affiliate links get clicked and advertising space used.  It is a business. The unnamed gladiator battle beings by throwing our name in the ring to get advanced reader copies for largely followed authors or the next big thing to be read.

It becomes expected that bloggers will read and review these 'phenomenal' and 'amazing' books in order to stay relevant in a fierce space for followers.

Then there is me.

What I discovered is that I have two libraries. In library number one is the notable stuff.

I do read some of these 'phenomenal' and 'amazing' books. I will share my feelings about them if I feel the same. These will be books that I will write a well-thought out review, and spend time talking about it. These will be 4 to 5 star books that wowed me as a reader and deserve the high rating to spur on more readers to check out this (good god we bloggers need to find new words) 'phenomenal' and 'amazing' book.

But to be honest, I read for me.

In library number two is the Harlequin books.

Not literally. But bear with me.

And yet, 4-5 stars occupy these shelves too. These are the books that are not the P&A stories. These stories entertained me for a few hours. I got thoroughly lost. The stories gave me a HEA without making me analyze intention or originality.  In the sense for construction, they are well-edited, good cover, etc. in other words, no real fault there. The story may seem trite, predictable, or to some 'been there read that'. This reader was entertained.

If we took a time machine back to 2007 and reviewed my buying habits, you see that I had an affinity for One Click Buy: Harlequin Blaze. They supplied me with 4-6 hours of entertainment. I was a happy reader. I got a happily ever after, sexy men and the women they fell for hard. These books gave me:

Jill Shavis, Julie Kenner, Leslie Kelly, Brenda Jackson, and more.

So to find the defense in the argument why I give 4-5 stars to everything I read, it is because I recognize that I'm not an editorial reviewer. I read for entertainment. I pick the stories that I know from reading previous works that I will enjoy. Or a trusted friend will know "Karen will be entertained." So the stars don't represent - story construction, originality, heart stopping moments, emotional wrenching pages impact. Nope.

It is as simple as: This book engaged and entertained me 5 stars! This book entertained may have been a bit slow in parts but overall engaged 4 stars!

If you like what I like, well, go through my shelves and find an entertaining read.

As of recent, I have the opportunity to re-introduce stories I love to followers on Book+Main. I could take a more 'business' approach to building my following. If I'm totally honest, it gives me a venue for a traveling book club where I can chat endless about stories I've read, bites I find that lead to new books I will read, or serials I impatiently wait on.

And yes, they will all be 4-5 star reads.

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