All Romance Ebooks, odd choices, and Breaking Cover blurb

I was browsing All Romance Ebooks for a couple things on my TBR list and I came across my book Life Lessons. (Okay, so I had my eye out for it; it’s my firstborn and I’m still mother-henning it a bit.) I was surprised as I scrolled the book list to see LL had a two-star rating! Since a couple of weeks ago when I last checked it had 5 stars based on at least sixteen or eighteen ratings, I was puzzled and a little dismayed to think about the level of negative feedback that implied, to bring the average that low. I clicked on the title, and found that on the single-book page it had a 5-star rating on 21 reviews.

I e-mailed ARe about the discrepancy, and learned something I had not been aware of. Apparently, the ratings on their scrolling list represent only the last few (current 1 month) ratings. The one on the book page represents the whole history of the book since release. Now admittedly I have a personal interest here. But it puzzles me why they choose to do it this way. Why not just have the cumulative total on the list as well? It’s not as though the most recent ratings have any reason to be more valid than the earlier ones. And this requires them to keep two different running totals. For an older book the recent month may have only one rating, disregarding all the previous feedback. That’s a bad way to advertise a book in my eyes. Even though I take the number of stars with a grain of salt, a couple of times I’ve skipped a book on their list when I saw what I thought was a really bad total cumulative rating. Now I’ll have to go back and check them out again, knowing that could have been from just one person.

It’s their website and their choice of how to run it, but this strikes me as making little sense. Ah, well. Just be advised that the ratings on the ARe list mean nothing at all. If you think a book looks interesting, or have seen it recommended, ignore the stars and go check it out.

On a happier note, Breaking Cover is now listed on MLR Press’s Upcoming Releases. They have a September release date, but my editor is still telling me we should be out within the month, so hopefully that’s just pessimism on the part of the web master.

So here’s the official blurb:

For homicide detective Mac, it’s been a good year. Having Tony to go home to makes him a better cop and a better person. For Tony, it’s been hard being in love with a man he can’t touch in public. Evasions and outright lying to friends and family take a little of the shine off his relationship with Mac, but Tony is determined to make it work.

As the Minneapolis Police Department moves into a hot, humid summer, Mac is faced with a different challenge. A killer has murdered two blond women, and the police have no real clues. Mac hates to think that another murder may be the only way they’ll make progress with the case. But when that murder happens, it hits close to home for Tony. And suddenly Mac faces an ultimatum: come out into the sunlight and stand beside Tony as his lover, or walk away and live without a piece of his heart.

*** Mac doesn’t make things easy for himself. He’s a bit of a pessimist, always bracing for the worst. So when he gets into a groove that seems to work he tends to cling to it, not wanting to risk a change. But events and Tony are going to shake him out of his rut in this one. Hopefully in a satisfying way for readers.

6 thoughts on “All Romance Ebooks, odd choices, and Breaking Cover blurb”

  1. I didn’t know this was the way ARe did things but then I rarely pay attention to ratings–I mean Amazon is notorious for the tripe in their so-called ratings and I’m finding Goodreads has some real winners in there as well. That’s why I like to read an excerpt (if at all possible) of the title so I can get a feel for the author’s writing style, which makes more of a difference than anything, or a review from a source such as “Publisher’s Weekly” or “The New York Times.” I’m still feeling my way through the many, many blogs that review ebooks. If I’m still ambivalent I will probably check out some comments to see what the reader liked or didn’t about a title.

  2. One thing about Goodreads is that you can do “compare books” with people. I figure if someone has very similar ratings to mine on twenty or more books, then I’ll follow and give weight to their reviews.

  3. That’s very interesting – it does seem a strange way of displaying the ratings. I don’t pay a lot of notice, mainly paying attention to one or two review sites and Goodreads, but I can’t say that I pay no attention to the ratings on ARe – I’ll ignore them in future!

    Can’t wait to read Breaking Cover – I loved Life Lessons.

  4. I agree that the system they have makes NO sense. Wonder what their reasoning is? I personally NEVER look at the stars. I mostly look at the blurb and then the excerpt. I think the most important thing is a blurb. I know that I emailed ARE recently because the blurb made a book seem to be romance but it was about two serial killers that have sex with each other and then rape and kill others. I guess it would not have been to bad if they then were caught and brought to justice but NO they got away with it. The book really was just about them. What a waste of my money. I was so mad. I put that author on my DO NOT READ list. It’s small but I have one. I also like to get recs from other reader in reading groups that read the same think I read. I found your series but reading the blurbs. AND LOVED THEM!

    • I have to admit that story doesn’t sound like my cup of tea either. Pity you couldn’t tell in advance. Sometimes the cover and title are out of a writer’s hands, but I would hope the blurb would tell you more. I do read excerpts, especially from new authors, before buying.

  5. I definitely read the excerpt and hope I’m getting some kind of accurate vibe of the writer’s style and the story. The blurb may get me interested but I have passed on books after reading an excerpt when I realized that the writer’s style and my reader’s ‘ear’ don’t match up.


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