Like many I am spending today in reflection of the year past, choices made, what worked for me and what didn’t. I am also reflecting on what brought me joy, yet there were plenty of struggles throughout the year.
I had some serious reader burn out in 2022. I had more reading slumps than I can ever remember. 2022 was the year of slumps when it came to reading. I love reading. I watch very little tv and am not a huge movie person. Books are my thing.
One of the things that has bugged me over the last year is that I am unapologetic about the books I love but a lot of times I tolerate Meh titles or push through books. I have often kept in the back of my mind while reading and review the status of the author in my sphere of influence. I ask myself, is this an author who I am friendly with; is this is an author who everyone loves. These things in the past have affected how I reviewed and perceived a book.
How I have reviewed in that past has me questioning the integrity of my own reviews.
I found myself questioning why I was still reading and reviewing. There are a lot of expectations put on reviewers right now. You are expected to have the views, the likes and engagement. But you are left to figure this out yourself. If a copy of a book is given to you there is the contract in place that you will read and review the title favorably. Authors don’t want to hear from you that there are things in the book that did not work. If you don’t love it you are expect to still gush about it and keep your critics to yourself. I more than once pushed through a title because it was from an author I am friendly with. I “fluffed” a review even though as I look back there were things about the title that did not work for me.
In 2023 I am going to be a bit more critical on those Meh titles. I can’t give 4 stars just because I think the author is a nice person or I don’t want to hurt feelings. My reviews are for fellow readers. They aren’t for authors. I want to make sure I am giving fair, honest and balanced feedback on all books I read. This is part of the reason I am not taking as many ARCs and will continue to slow down on those. I want to make sure I am “allowed” to be critical and not behold to a PR firm or an author on what I can and can’t say.
I am also going to continue to DNF books. I will put the title down and tell you why I did. There are so many great books out there that I am done giving time to books that just aren’t keeping my attention.
I think that because so many reviewers are fighting for space on social media and trying to rocket to the top of Book Influencers, we have lost sight of who and why we review books. It is not my job as a reviewer to get a title to go Viral. My job is to tell you what works, why it works and if the story is worth reading. If this leads to additional readers for the author great, but not my main purpose. My main purpose is to help my fellow readers find their next great read. To find their next book boyfriend or to fall in love with a small town.
What you can expect from me in 2023…
I am claiming back my book reviewing integrity.
I am going to be more critical in my reviews. I am not going to trash a book just for the purpose of trashing it. I am going to tell you what works for me or what doesn’t. I will never tag an author in my reviews, ever. Star ratings have little meaning to me. When rating a book as a 3 star it means the book was ok. I liked it, just not going to re-read it. If I 4 star a book, I liked it and I am going to recommend it. If I 5 star a book it means it lives rent free with me forever and ever!