Tag Archives: up for discussion

Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

I am not interested in reviewing books written by men.

I know I’m going to get flack for this, should the very men I am writing this to avoid find it. But I am no longer interested in accepting books written by men for review. I am literally changing my book review policies to bar men.

I understand fully that it’s not all men, and the very men who are going to show up in my comments claiming to be victimized and oppressed by my personal decision to avoid them are the very same men I’m hoping to avoid interacting with. Those that are tolerable will kindly leave me alone as asked. There is no winning in this situation.

I’ve been following the Matt Shaw drama online. He’s an extreme horror author who has gone after a reviewer for a poor review. (No, I’m not linking him.) He apparently wrote a whole book that he nastily dedicated to her. I’ve not read it. I’m not going to read it. But the screenshots that I have read scream misogyny made deniable because it’s packaged as ‘art.’ Therefore, anyone who criticizes it (i.e., women) must not be smart or cultured enough to understand it. *Insert eye-roll at the most trite, over-used strategy imaginable, again, being passed off as intellectually top-tier.* Men and their delusions of grandeur are so exhausting.

As if art can’t be (and often is) author-self-insert abusive fantasy. In fact, it so often is that it’s a large part of why women say men can’t write women well. Too many can’t keep their rape fantasies out of sex scenes or their dehumanizing ideation of women out of the most basic character descriptors. Hell, a certain portion can’t keep their rape fantasies out of the most basic character descriptors or their dehumanizing ideation of women out of sex scenes. It’s exhausting, and I long ago limited how many male authors I trusted because of it.

Here’s the cliff-notes version of the Matt Shaw situation if you want to catch up:

I’ve not had a male author write a gross dedication to me, let alone one in an extreme horror book whose introduction includes a dead mother and multi-generational incest (possibly rape, depending on how young the sister is meant to be). But I have had an author write a rape scene so graphic that when he told his writers’ group it was based on punishing a reviewer who gave him a bad review, one of the members felt compelled to warn me about it. (This is another common male tactic, the use of rape as punishment and fantasies about it to soothe their bruised ego.) So, I 100% understand why this reviewer feels threatened by this behavior. (If I have to explain to you why Shaw or Mann’s actions are a problem, then you are part of the problem, and I do not intend to waste my time with you.)

I’ve also had far more male authors than female ones aggressively tell me my review is wrong or mansplain my own opinion to me. And when it comes to book-review requests, more male authors than females ignore my stated genre preferences and waste my time requesting a review for a book (or entire back catalogs) that my policies tell them I’m not interested in (and not infrequently try to convince me to change my mind once I’ve politely declined). I received a request today, for example, to review a coming-of-age crime thriller, when my policies state that I’m only open to non-YA “Monster and Why Choose Romances of the fantasy/paranormal/sci-fi (etc.) variety.” *big exhausted sigh*

Men also frequently have a perplexing habit of sending me book review requests that include no actual request but rather an assumption that I’ll read their book. The palatable sense of entitlement is often astounding. None of this even touches on how often men just think they are smarter and all around better than everyone else, in general. *Again, men are exhausting.*

And, men, if you are tired of hearing how exhausting you are, then maybe do something about not being so exhausting. If you’re not one of these men doing gross, threatening, or entitled things, it’s time to step up and start talking to those who are. Because until you do, you are complicit and also exhausting, just in a different manner. Thus, you are still part of the problem and exhausting.

You can now thank that same lack of action for the loss of a review resource. I feel no need to continue to function within a space where I have to navigate such behavior. Seeing the Matt Image by Gordon Johnson from PixabayShaw scenario play out is just my personal last straw. I’m out. I will no longer accept review requests from men, regardless of the genre, plot, praise, or circumstances under which I’m asked. The answer is and will be no.

It’s not that I’ve never had good interactions with male authors or given any of their books five stars. But as is always the counter to the tired ‘it’s not all men’ mantra, maybe not, but women can’t know which men. So, I’m choosing to simply avoid you all. Thank your toxic bros for that. That’s where the blame lies—not with me, not with feminism, and not with women in general. But with you and your brethren.




unpopular opinion banner

Unpopular Opinion: I Never Read Excerpts, Sample Chapters, Previews, Etc

Ok, this might take a little explaining. Because, from a blogger’s perspective, I love posting excerpts. Which I acknowledge chances being a little hypocritical. Over on Sadie’s Spotlight, a blitz or spotlight with an excerpt is probably the most common sort of post I post.

I like them from that end because they are usually brief, non-graphical, and give readers an idea of what to expect from the writing in the book. I can usually tell from a paragraph or two if I’m going to like the author’s writing style or not. So, I feel like excerpts serve a purpose. I’m not arguing against them. As a blogger who promotes books on her blog, I love them and assume (by their prevalence) that other readers appreciate them.

Hate defHowever, as a reader myself, I hate them. I almost never read them, even when I post them if I’m being honest. It doesn’t matter if it’s a sneak peek into the next book at the end of a finished book, an excerpt on a blog (like I often post), a page flip on social media, downloading a sample from a bookseller, or previews from a bookfunnel-like promotion. I am not at all interested.

This topic came up today because I was looking at a Bookfunnel promotion, and as I scrolled through, I found Preview, Excerpt, Free Chapter, Sample Chapters, Teasers, Short Story in the whatever series, etc. And I said, “Well, this is a waste of my time,” and stopped scrolling. Whatever books were past that point, I never saw.

I’m speaking solely for myself here. But I will never knowingly download any of those, and I’m super annoyed if I think I’ve downloaded a book and only later realize it’s the just first 3 so many books so little timechapters or something*.

There are several reasons for this reluctance. The most important of which is time. It’s most important because it’s relevant in several ways. First, I own literally thousands of books. If I’m picking up a new one, it’s an addition I really don’t need, I want. As such, I’m not going to put any significant time or effort into it. I will not spend half an hour reading the sample to decide if I want it or not.

While I realize X number of pages as a preview is offered as an extended chance to decide if I want the book. To me, it feels like an imposition on my time. I do not want to read twenty pages to make a decision I can make based on the cover and blurb. That’s their purpose. I don’t want to make the process more lengthy and time-consuming.

Second, I hate, hate, hate with an abiding passion starting things I don’t get to finish. So, putting half an hour into reading three free chapters and then stopping is anathema to me. I cannot stress how much I dislike even the thought of this. I am not neutral on the subject of preview chapters from this perspective. I am strongly anti-**.

As an aside, this holds true for books too. I have become increasingly disenchanted with series lately because there is a trend in which plots stretch over entire series instead of having any natural stopping point at the end of books. I even recently posted looking for recommendations for standalones and omnibuses to avoid this.

reading goal as of 4/7/16Third, I’m a list maker. I get a lot of satisfaction building my yearly have-read list. Spending half an hour reading a sample and not finishing the book feels like a waste because there is nothing to log at the end of it. And I could have put that time into reading half an hour of a book I could log.

I’ve seen quite a lot of discourse lately from readers saying that numeric reading challenges and the drive to read more have stripped reading of enjoyment and made it feel like a chore. But this is not true for me. I very much enjoy the feeling of accomplishment I get from starting January first with a blank page and ending the year with a full list of books I’ve finished. And all the excerpts, previews, sample chapters, etc, don’t contribute to this accomplishment. In fact, I feel like they undercut it.

So, while I acknowledge that excerpts serve a purpose and I’m thrilled for those that enjoy them. I am aware, after all, that some people enjoy them as an amusement of their own, separate from the book they represent. My unpopular opinion is that I hate them. I feel like they clutter promotions up, and I wish they weren’t there. But even more broadly, I just don’t want to read them.

This is, of course, an “if you don’t want to read them, then don’t” situation. But since this is also my blog, I get to take a page to vent about how much I don’t want to read them.

end Image by Colleen O'Dell from Pixabay

*I’ll acknowledge a certain amount of audacity here. The Bookfunnel promotion in question was for free books. As such, a person shouldn’t complain too much about what is or isn’t offered up for free.

** Again, for myself, not in general. Others can and should do as they please.

Looking for Recommendations

Looking for Recommendations

I recently posted this over on TikTok, and honestly, I’m just sharing it here so that I can find it and the recommendations under it again. But also, if you see this and have a rec, drop it for me.

As I say, I’m sick to death of reaching the end of a book and having to decide if I want to buy the next one or not to reach a satisfying stopping point. So often these days, I come to the end of a book and don’t feel like I’ve reached any sort of conclusion; it’s just a stopping point because the book reached X number of pages. I’m exhausted by it.

I recently ended up reading a seven-book series because it took seven books to reach a conclusion OF ANY SORT. The thing is, I didn’t know I was committing to seven books when I picked the first one up. (This seems to be a trend lately.)

So, I’m seeking recommendations for standalone books and series that I can buy compilations of. That way, even if the individual books don’t stand alone, I’m not constantly facing the same ‘do I want to buy another book or just walk away’ question. I’m looking for anything in the monster romance or similar PNR genres. And I’m totally OK with authors self-recommending. Who knows better what series have omnibuses than the author?

Anyhow, here the Tikety-Tok:

@seesadieread sometimes I know going in that a book is a #cliffie, but often I don’t. I like to know if I’m committing to A book or 7 books before reaching a conclusion. #recsplease #bookrecommendations #bookrecrequest #monsterromancebooks #monsterromance #monstersmutreader #monstersmut #pleaseshare #bookrecs #ihatecliffhangers #cliffhangers #wethair #showerthoughts #decisionfatigue #decisionfatigueisreal #seesadieread #reader #bookreviewer #bookplans #compilations #compilationtiktok #pnr #smuttok #booktalk #paranormal #monsters #monsterlover ♬ original sound – SadieF