Sunday, January 13, 2013

Beware of Sneak Peeks on Review Sites

A few years ago I edited a gay romance set in the world of BDS&M.  It was a difficult job because reading the book made me uncomfortable.  I have never been able to understand how anyone could derive pleasure from pain, but the person was a first-time author who needed a lot of hand-holding and was a really nice, sensitive man.  Toward the end of the book, he revealed the childhood traumas that led his characters to find solace in pain, turning the book from an okay gay romance to a really powerful, heart-wrenching read.  He dug into his own painful memories and in doing so created an award-winning masterpiece that mostly garnered rave reviews.

One woman, however, gave the book a scathing review.  The BDSM made her uncomfortable and she put the book down halfway through without ever reading the powerful revelations at the end.  I vowed then that I would never review a book I had not read from start to finish, no matter how badly I wanted to hurl my Kindle across the room and write, “This book stinks.  Don’t bother buying it.”

Recently I had the opposite problem.  I read a book all the way through and I would have liked to have given it a great review, but it was a complex thriller and one of the characters wondered if there was a leak in their organization feeding info to the enemy.  At the end of the book, the possibility of that leak fell through the cracks.  I thought I knew who it was, but since the author seemed to have forgotten to tie up that particular loose end, I never found out if I was right.  So at the very end, my review went from five stars to three.

Therefore, I do not understand how a publisher can expect me to review a book when they have not uploaded the entire book to a review site.  I just finished reading a “Sneak Peek” of Cinders & Sapphires by Leila Rasheed which was published by The Disney Group.  I suppose the words “Sneak Peek” should have told me the book wouldn’t all be there, but I’m somewhat new to the Net Galley review site and it never occurred to me that anyone would upload an excerpt to a review site.  I have no problem with loading excerpts to sales sites, but how can The Disney Group expect a person to judge part of a book?  How can one know that all of the loose ends will be tied up without reading the end?

Frankly, now that I feel so cheated, I am not inclined to buy the book in order to finish it, nor do I recommend my readers buy it.  I'm sorry, Ms. Rasheed.  Your publisher has done you a great disservice here.

Length:  No clue.
Price:  TBA.
Buy Link:  Release Date January 22, 2013, The Disney Group

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