Friday, April 5, 2013

Book Blurbs

I usually receive a couple advance reader copies of upcoming books per month.  These books range from pretty good to alright to downright unreadable.  When I read the advance praise for this new book just hit my mailbox, I was intrigued.

"Escape Theory kept me up way past curfew, with no regrets" --Cecily von Ziegesar of Gossip Girl fame.

"Escape Theory is a riveting psychological journey"-Sara Shepard of Pretty Little Liars

"Margaux Froley's a sexy, smart page turner, a must read!" Octavia Spencer, Academy Award winning star of The Help

Let's play my favorite Sesame Street game One of These Things is Not Like the Other.  We have three book blurbs.  Two from formula fiction franchises (say that three times fast) and one from an actress.  Now, not that Octavia Spencer can't have a hobby, and I would personally welcome her into my book club, but what makes her a good person to blurb this book?  And, what did she say in the span of those periods.  Hmm.

This brings me to my main question:  Do you trust book blurbs?  If a book is recommended by your favorite author, is that an automatic read?  If your favorite actress endorses a book, or maybe the wacky weather man on a morning television show, does it go on your list?  Have you ever been let down by a blurb?  Do you have trust issues because your favorite fantasy author endorsed Fablehaven and you just hated it?  Maybe I was the only one that hated that book.

And reviews!  What about book reviews?  This is getting into dangerous territory for me because I do review books, both for fun here and for benefit for a company (not exactly monetary benefit, I'm kinda literally paid in books).  Escape Theory has earned a starred review from Publisher's Weekly, but I always found that Pub Weekly gave out stars like I give out treats to my dog, sometimes because she does the trick, and other times just to shut her up.  I personally trusted School Library Journal, The Bulletin, and Kirkus much more.  In fact, Kirkus was usually so mean, that if they liked it, I would buy two.  Also, the librarian at my best friend's school was an SLJ reviewer and I loved her!  If Elaine said buy, I'd buy, if she said it's an additional purchase, I'd pass.  That is some level of trust there.

Let's get back to the book in question-Escape Theory.

Here are the covers that I found on Goodreads.  I received the green cover which looks pretty marginal, especially since this is supposed to be about an upscale boarding school mystery.  Honestly, doesn't it kinda look like that Fiona Frost novel from months ago?

Maybe not, but the gate is what made me think of Fiona Frost. 

The other cover looks awfully grungy.  I feel like I should be listening to Nirvana with that cover.  

In the interest of full disclosure, I have not finished Escape Theory yet, although the more I type that title the more ridiculous it seems.  At first, I was really excited to read this book.  I have a strange affection for Gossip Girl and others like it.  But right away, Escape Theory is not hooking me.  It's brand dropping, but it's dropping middle class brand, like Ikea and Target.  Okay, that's already my life, so that's not fun.  The plot seems implausible at this point too, so I'll have to see where that goes.  I'll let you know what I think on Monday, but it's going to be an uphill battle.

Let's circle back to the original question:  Book Blurbs-yay or nay?  Do you trust them or do they make you extra wary?

Happy Reading!

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