Dear Indie Authors: I cheated on you :(

Dear Indie Authors:

I cheated on you over the long 4th of July weekend. I packed my bags for the lake, left your books behind, and downloaded three books by Elin Hilderbrand.

And I was seriously disappointed and I offer my sincere apologies.

 I downloaded these without reading the reviews. Oh, I saw that they had received every star in the spectrum, but it seemed balanced out. However, as a reviewer myself, I know better than not to read reviews…

But, I was going away for an extended weekend, I just wanted  stories. I understood these stories might be fluff.

Except I didn’t even get fluff.

Warning, there will be spoilers in this post.

I started with The Rumor. I finished it, but must admit I skimmed quite a bit. This book reminded us that sometimes the truth is far more scandalous than the rumors going around, but the scandals were ridiculous. While one character was cheating on her husband with the “landscape architect”, she let her two daughters run free and failed to see that her husband had turned into a pimp of sorts in order to save his failing real estate venture. (No, I was not drinking wine when I read that part.)

I had trouble connecting with the characters, and the story was choppy, but it was okay.

I skimmed Summer People. I skimmed it big time. The main character was the mother and she had teenage twins, a boy and a girl. Their Father, a lawyer, had recently been killed in a plane crash while going to court to defend the mother of a black boy. The main character and her twins took this boy with them on their trip to Nantucket.

With this black boy, I felt she was trying to be politically correct and failed. She hit every stereotype those who do not associate with blacks believe.

The ‘big scandal’ in this book was a secret the mother had. This turned out to be nothing more than she had ran off with her boyfriend and got married, when she was in her early twenties and lived on Nantucket with her parents.

Her parents were against this marriage, so after three weeks, she divorced. Bam That was it.

Her ex-husband showed up in the story a couple of times, but all he did was drink beer and hit on her, as his current marriage was failing. I ended up not caring if the two of them fell back in love or not. The mother was a weak character, and I was left with the feeling the hardest decisions she had ever made in her life were what to fix for dinner and whether or not to take the morning or evening Yoga class.

The Castaways: Elin Hilderbrand’s books are touted as Beach Reads. A Beach Read is supposed to sweep me away, however this one made me wish a giant wave would sweep me out into the lake and drown me.

I could not finish this book. I didn’t even bother to skim to the end to find out if one couple either killed each other when they were out on a boat, or if it was a tragic accident. That is how little I care. The characters could not stay sober for more than two chapters, and the children in this book (and the other two), got overlooked and neglected by the adults.

In this book, if I had this group of people as friends, I would run away fast. There were so many husbands and wives cheating on each other with their ‘friends’ partner, that I lost track.

Whenever they went out to eat, you got a full description of what every person ordered, (Six couples = twelve people, so imagine…)

Elin Hilderbrand’s books are SO close to being good, but totally flop. They are always based in Nantucket, which is fine, but she fails to give you the flavor of the area. Her characters drink heavily, cheat on their spouses and back stab their ‘friends’. If you like reading six pages of descriptions of food, you will love these books. However, do not expect any sort of romance or love story from these, nor any delicious sex scenes.

Out of three books, I did not connect with a single character. They come across as soap operas and lack variety. The same Rolling Stones song is in all of them.

I expect variety from Authors. I don’t want to read books  where certain  foods, wine and song are the same favorite in every book. Am I being nit-picky? I don’t think so. It made me believe the Author lacked imagination.

These were certainly not Beach Reads.

I ended up feeling bad after reading these. It was a waste of my time, when I have Indie Authors who have blown me away with their first book. And it made me kind of mad that she’s been published several times, while some great reads have to struggle to get published.

So, why am I posting about books I’m only giving one star to? Why, when I typically don’t bother posting my one/two star reviews?

Because even after that, which is just a taste of how I feel, even after reading other one and two star reviews, Elin Hilderbrand still has Best Seller on her book covers and she has an audience who will buy her next book before the ink has dried.

There is almost always an audience for every book out there.

Every Author gets bad reviews.

And you know what? I have no doubt even this blog post will help sell a few, because some people will be curious enough to go check this Author out.

Remember,  I have told you before I have read one star reviews where the reader didn’t like the book because of the sex in it, and after reading the review I was like, “Take my money! I love reading sex scenes!”  😉

So, dear Indie Authors, don’t always look at negative reviews as a negative thing.

My own lesson from all of this.

It is okay for me to cheat on you Indie Authors. Except, it’s not cheating. It’s reading what I want along the way of reading yours and getting a review to you.  Because your books are still going to be available ten years down the road, and every review helps, right?

So, let’s not call it cheating. The only thing I cheat on is my lunch time, where I might slip in a few extra minutes or perhaps slip out the door five minutes early at the end of my work day.

Cheating means I should feel guilty, and I promise you I will not be feeling guilty when I go on a trip in August and catch up on a trilogy I started years ago. 😉

We shall come up with another term for it.

I also learned to ALWAYS read reviews when I’m shopping for a book. I do not read reviews of my Indie Authors until I have written and posted mine as I do not want any influence.

I totally forgot to READ reviews for these. 😦

Although I did not enjoy these books, I enjoyed picking them out. No, I do not accept every book that Indie Authors want to send my way, but it was really fun just browsing Amazon and picking a book!

I will always maintain my love of reading. I have to.

And you, dear Authors, must maintain your love of writing them. There will always be haters and trolls and those ugly little one/two stars.


But there are also people out there who will read your books. Who look forward to the next one, who will badger you until you give them more books.

But please keep writing. Please keep chugging through and overcoming.

Your audience is out there.



3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lucinda E Clarke
    Jul 08, 2015 @ 14:48:42

    Well that was an honest review, and it does highlight that even bestsellers are not always great reads. I enjoyed that.



  2. gizpix
    Jul 08, 2015 @ 14:40:33

    Hi, January Gray,

    I’m also an author. At last! RED by RON SHAW

    Thank You,




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