Saturday, June 21, 2014

Of objectivity and snark

Some days I really hate that living up to the person I want to be requires me to try to be fair and even handed with reviewing. It would be a lot less work to splat my first reactions on the page. Being aware also that this is a small genre, and everyone knows everyone, or knows someone who knows, and stuff gets around, including the news that there were tears, I don't publish reviews like this one.

It's not my style. I think I'm smart, I have been called a bitch, but I try to keep the bitchy out of the review.  On the other hand, Smart Bitches have about forty billion gazillion more readers than I do. These things are probably related.

Notice I didn't say I don't write snarky reviews. I don't post them.  Or try not to, someone may point out where I'm wrong. But not posting them is different from not writing one.

Reading a review that discusses unicorn sparkle peen with Justin Bieber flakes, or whatever brain buster she actually wrote in that linked review (I can't bear to look again) made me recall a review I wrote to get the snark out of my system. Binky is the bad example character Nicole Kimberling wrote her very funny "how not to do it" articles about for Jessewave  and Novel Approach. He's pretty awful in those posts.

With my best attempt to redact all identifying information about the book, here's what Cryssy Crankypants snark really does look like.


Title:  {Binky Rides Again}
Author: author’s 14 year old sister who loves Twilight
Cover Artist: some unfortunate person who only had to read the art request, thank God
Publisher: Pirate outfit who stole publisher’s logos
Buy Link: withheld for your protection
Genre: tweenlit with inappropriate sex scenes
Length: too long
Rating: no stars at all because this book is a giant black hole that sucked all 5 stars in

A Guest Review by She Who Should Have Heeded the Warnings

Review Summary: This book's entertainment value is as a drinking game.


Blah blah blah, whatever it actually says


The last [author name] book I read left me with the impression that [he or she] was a passable writer who could construct a plot, create endearing characters, and entertain me. Since none of that exists here, I am forced to conclude that [his or her] much younger sister stole the outline for a decent novel and wrote it her way.

Arm yourself with a bottle of vodka and a can of peanuts, and follow these instructions for a good time.

Take a shot each time:
  • the word [*****] appears in any form (May require a second bottle)
  • an infodump appears
  • a cliché appears
  • the wall of exposition goes on for more than 2 pages
  • {MC 1} displays an inexplicable skill (This will be in retrospect, so drink when you realize how unlikely it is)
  • {MC 2} does something directly counter to [what he's been working on]. You may skip the shot IF you really think this is subtle characterization of his state of mind. You may NOT skip the shot if the text says in so many words that this is his state of mind.
  • a scene stolen directly from Nicole’s articles appear
  • You’re convinced Bella Swan wandered in to play the scene. Take a second shot if she’s playing both parts.
  • each time [MCs] make an unwarranted conclusion
  • each time you have to scroll upward to figure out whose POV this is supposed to be
Because we wish to conclude this game without killing the participants with alcohol poisoning, eat a peanut each time:
  • an adverb appears
  • a word explaining the emotion someone is supposed to be feeling appears
  • you roll your eyes. Chase it with a shot if you actually speak/yell something at the Kindle.
  • you read a sentence with only four words. Chase it with a shot if there are three in the same paragraph.
  • each time [MC] displays a complete personality transplant in either direction. Skip the peanut if you believe this is a rational change for the scene.
  • each time you recognize Binky
You are allowed to stick your finger down your throat once for each sex scene you actually find hot.

At the end of this game, the vodka will be gone, the peanuts will be gone, and it is unlikely there will be any barf to clean up. Which is a good thing, because you will be lying on the floor in an inebriated, bloated heap, wondering if the acquiring editor had accidentally triple dosed on the Valium before reading and accepting this mess.


Back to our regularly scheduled but not as much fun opinions.


  1. I sincerely hope it wasn't one of mine that set you off. **bites nails**

  2. No,it wasn't. {rolls eyes} Silly girl.


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