Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Review Issue # 2: Not my Cup of Tea

I’m hesitating and indulging at the same time. YA is composed of several genres – general, contemporary, romance, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, dystopia and historical. I’m naturally drawn to anything paranormal and fantasy. But when I started reading The Hunger Games, Birthmarked and Nomansland, I fell in love with the dystopian genre. This love inspired me to write my own dystopian novel (I’m still working on it.) I don’t usually read contemporary and romance novels but when I started blogging, I’ve encountered several novels that fall under this category that I love: The Julian Game by Adele Griffin, Sing Me to Sleep and Taken by Storm by Angela Morrison, Anxious Hearts by Tucker Shaw and Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. Since then, I haven’t been so hesitant to read and accept books for review concerning contemporary and romance books. A few days from now on February 6th – I’ll even start a blog event featuring romance novels!

Right now, I’m reading Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley. I love it. It reminds me of Confessions of a Shopaholic and and a movie about a country girl. It has a very familiar vibe. It’s light to read. I don’t usually read this fast when it comes to contemporary novels, but I do right now. What does this prove? This proves that I might like or even love a novel from a genre that isn’t my favorite. Books can surprise you. Authors can pull you in with their writing. The unexpected could happen.

But in my one year of blogging, I’ve stumbled upon a couple of novels that I really had a hard time with. Believe me, it wasn’t even an issue with the cover that started this hard relationship. For three to four times, I’ve tried reading these books. And over and over again, I find myself in the same situation: having a difficult time reading the story, not being able to get into it, and noticing that the story is a bit…dull and boring or really just disconnected – it doesn’t appeal to me the same way the other novels did. This makes me really, really sad. Not only because I won’t be writing a good review about it but because I won’t be able to finish the whole story – not because I don’t want to (I want to. I really, really do.) but because I can’t. I couldn’t. No matter how hard or how many times I tried. In my one year of blogging, reading these have been the most challenging and difficult part so far. I have no idea how I'm going to review these books. I have no idea what to do. Any suggestions?

So, to conclude…should I or should I not request/read/review books that are not my cup of tea? What do you think?

I think I should still do that. Because a good reviewer accepts challenges and broadens her bookish mind. Because the unexpected could happen. Because there are very good authors out there whose works I haven’t read yet. Because I joined Reggie’s 2011 YA Contemporary Challenge and it will do me good to read contemporary novels once in a while. 


  1. Interesting dilemma! The other week I had to put down three books in a row because I could not get into them. If I can't get into the book, I put it down. I regret not being able to finish it, but I read because I enjoy it. I don't want to 'force' myself to read a book I don't enjoy.

    If you find a book that's generally not your cup of tea but you've read all these great reviews on and it sounds like it could be good - I guess go for it, if you have the time. It could blow you away. But if you read a synopsis or review and think 'meh', maybe give it a miss? Sorry, probably not the best advice!

    As for the books you have to review, but couldn't finish - I guess that's just part of the journey of blogging. You won't like everything. But 'bad' reviews can be done tastefully. You're not the kind of person to bash a book, so I think just be honest. Explain why it didn't draw you in and why you, unfortunately, couldn't finish. I think authors/publishers value honest opinions far more than fabricated ones, even if you didn't love what they have to offer. Constructive critisicm is the only way to grow.

  2. I've struggled with this too. What do I do when I get a book for review, but I just don't like it? I feel especially awkward rating a book low when it came directly from the author.

    I tried to find a middle ground by DNF-ing these books and giving a mini explanation as to why I didn't finish them. I don't rate these. That way I'm not forcing myself to read a book I'm just hating (because life is too short for that), my readers can get some feedback about the book, but I'm not slamming the book with a low rating.

    I hope that's a good middle ground, but I really don't know. I try to only request books I think I'll like. If I want to take a chance with something outside my comfort zone, I can always try the library. ARCs are expensive to make and limited, so I don't want to take one that has a high chance of me disliking it. I'd rather it go to a reviewer who will enjoy it.