Musings on self-published books and a review of sorts

I’ve debated with myself if I should only review books that I find some merit in. After all what is the point of putting down a work someone else spent time and effort to create? I guess there is some use in “warning people off”, but that makes the assumption that people share my taste, which according to Goodreads reviews of this particular book, they do not.

The amazing thing about self-publishing is that we as readers are spoiled for choice. There’s I’m sure thousands of e-books out there that are very cheap or even free – I know I’ve got at least a good 10-20 on my Kindle (the snapshot from said device accompanying this blog showing only a fraction of the apparently over 200 (!) titles I have stored). The downside is that since pretty much anyone can publish anything there is no quality control. This means we are inundated by a barrage of offers for books that cost almost nothing. A lot of them even get great reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. So how am I as a reader supposed to pick out of the seemingly unlimited number of options? I could of course ignore everything that didn’t go through a reputable publishing house, but then I could miss out on something amazing. And so I keep coming back for more, even with the occasional disappointment.

Therefore, I think I will say a few words about a book that I did not particularly enjoy, in case someone shares my taste. Warning: there be spoilers up ahead!

Tee Smith – Chasing Dragonflies – a few notes:

Firstly, I am not your typical romance novel reader. Nobody likes a good romance more than I do, except perhaps my wife (sorry, could not resist a nod to Monty Python), but the fact of it is that romance novels often have little substance, contrived plots and are too hastily written. I did not know going in that this was a romance novel – this could explain most of my disappointment.

I thought this was the harrowing story of a woman who had been held captive for most of her adult life, finally being free and dealing with her trauma, learning who she was outside of it. And it is – sort of.

The romance part is actually quite well written and to begin with had me intrigued. But then they parted ways for reasons that seemed completely implausible – and that should have been it, really.

Spoilers ahead – second and final warning!

But no – because here comes the thing that really pissed me off but is apparently par for the course in the genre: she is pregnant. And do you know what pregnancy does with someone who is severely traumatised and hasn’t really dealt with it? To someone who has finally dared to start making plans for *their* life, dared to dream that there might be a life beyond captivity where they can find out who they are, what they want to do, travel and see the world? It makes everything magically OK. Relationship? Magically fixed. Life? Magically fixed. Never mind travelling, a career, dealing with my trauma – I have a baby now. That’s… Just not how things work. And it just ruined the whole thing for me.

People, babies are not magical creatures that fix your life. They are human beings with their own needs, personalities, dreams and disasters. And I’m sure that raising children can be extremely rewarding, – they’re just not magic.

Also the book could have done with another few rounds of proofreading/editing – there were a distracting number of mistakes. But that takes a back seat to the overall unbelievable conclusion. Oh and speaking of conclusions – it’s a cliffhanger…

 

3 Comments Add yours

  1. areadingcat says:

    awww this looks cool! i didn’t finish reading the post though because of the spoilers! haha! I think I’ll get this book though! x

    Like

  2. I get a lot of requests from author’s self-publishing their books and I used to accept most of the offers even if it was something I wouldn’t have necessarily picked out myself. My philosophy was very “I could be missing out on something great!” at the point. But after a few misses I decided I should be a little more conscientious about what I decide to pick up. And I’ve found a lot of great books along the way that I probably wouldn’t have found otherwise (same with freebies!).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I think the key is indeed to be a little more critical. For instance if I know I don’t generally enjoy romance novels, I should probably steer clear of those unless I’ve a compelling reason not to. That being said I did just finish a romance novel that I got for free that I really enjoyed (review to come). But I picked that one because it said it was a romantic comedy, and it was indeed pretty funny. Plus the setting appealed to me as it’s an area I know and love. So even though it had the – IMO – usual shortcomings of the genre with relationships moving too fast and story being a bit on the thin side, I did still really enjoy it and do not regret picking it up.

      Liked by 1 person

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