Bloggers: What do you say about a less-than-stellar ARC?

I was in the dumps a few days ago. I love mysteries, domestic noir, suspense books anytime anywhere.  I even dig a good procedural like the excellent Tana French and Robert Galbraith books.

Being a new blogger, I joined NetGalley a few months ago and went straight for my genre of books. While I’ve read some good ones, I read so many lackluster, blah (boring) ARCs that I seriously got burned out. Also, how do you bloggers handle bad ARCs? Some, I can’t even finish. Then, what about the review?

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My husband (not a big reader) says I should be honest and tell it like it is – let people know if the book is lousy. In these cases, I feel too much for the author, the hard work he/she put in and their feelings, too. I just can’t trash a book publicly. It does irk me when a so-so book is heavily promoted and I see tons of other bloggers tweeting about how great it is.  Is that solely so they will get more free books to review?

I have tentatively decided to only write reviews for “good”  books. Or semi-good. I’m not a snob, I just WANT TO READ GOOD BOOKS!

Not knowing how this whole blogger/book reviewer big picture works, I at first accepted a couple of author’s requests to read their books. One self-published, one has been published about a year. Both really bad.

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Do I let them know their books sucked, I couldn’t finish, no way I can write a nice review? I’m really interested in your thoughts on this subject.  How do you handle bad books?

In case you care (you do, don’t you?) I climbed out of my reading slump by concentrating on my TBR list. First up, DARK MATTER. High fives all around. Perfectly exciting and different and well written. Now, Sharp Objects. It’s looking outstanding.