i on Romance: Book Summary Pet Peeves

Posted June 27th, 2014 by in Blog, Features, ionR / 12 comments

Book Summary Pet Peeves


I have to read a lot of book summaries. And when I say ‘a lot’, I mean a crapton.  Like anything else that one sees all the time, there are things used in summaries that make me grit my teeth – and some of them are even ‘deal-breakers’.

Let me give you three examples of the stuff that puts me off a book:

If the summary is  written in first person

For some reason, I don’t understand the idea behind the blurb being written in first person. I don’t mind a book in that format, but the summary should be a description. I’m sure this isn’t a big sticking point for many people, but it’s like nails on a chalkboard to me.

Grammatical and/or Spelling Errors

When I see a blurb with actual errors, that’s it for me. I know sometimes this isn’t the author’s fault, but it’s an indication of a book that is probably not written or edited well. If I have to suffer through the same errors while reading the book, I’m out.

Example: ‘…exploring no holds barred…’

Quotes included to tell us how to feel about the book

I’ve read plenty of books. I don’t require directions on how to feel while reading your book.

Examples: “Contemporary Romance to Make You Laugh, Cry, and Fall in Love
‘a hero so mouth-watering, he will put you off chocolate’


So I suppose what I’m saying is simpler is better. I prefer to read a teaser that tells me a general overview of the story without spoilers, and gives me a little peek at the characters.

Talk Dirty To Me 8x6

An example of a good summary – IMO

How about you? Are there things that set your teeth on edge? Are the summaries important in telling you about the quality of the book? Let us know!





12 Responses to “i on Romance: Book Summary Pet Peeves”

  1. Leanna

    I don’t.like quotes from the book and other authors saying the book is good doesn’t have much influence on me. Spelling errors really annoy me. Don’t you have an editor?

  2. orchid7

    I hate when the blurb gives too much detail. At that point I think, why bother reading it?
    It also really annoys me when the blurb turns out to be nothing at all like the book.

    As a side note, I also hate reviews that give too much detail. If you’re going to tell me everything that happens in the book, it completely spoils it for me. I’d much rather hear how the reviewer actually felt about what they read than to have them give me such a long summary that it spoils the whole book. Too many reviewers do this. Most of the time the book summary is right there. Let it do its job, and just say whether or not the book worked for you!
    That’s a true pet peeve of mine…

    • KarenL (@Aleveria)

      Same here – I recently read a book that sounded like one thing and turned out to be 50% different than what I expected. It wasn’t one I read to review though, or I’d have given it no stars. I didn’t even finish it – so in that case I don’t find it fair to review at all.

      I feel like I do a lot of self-editing when it comes to writing a review. I like to do a slightly jaunty – but very sketchy recap of the story, and then give my take on the characters/plotlines, etc. I’ve actually come out and asked a couple of authors if my review is too “spoilery” after I’ve written it, just to get a perspective, and they say no, but I still sometimes question my writing.

      I truly hope I never cross that line. *nervous*

  3. ki pha

    I’m not sure, I remember reading a blurb that I found so interesting that I bought the book. But lo and behold the story within it was just absolutely not what the blurb was about. More like the blurb was what happened in the first two chapters and then veered off for the rest of the book. Was very disappointing because the rest of the story was not mentioned in the blurb and was totally a different story.

    • KarenL (@Aleveria)

      Yeah, I mentioned that above. I had a similar experience, and when the book deviated – it wasn’t pleasant. I “put the book down” (as much as you can do with an ebook) and never returned to it.

      Agreed. Disappointing. In that case – why even write the summary in the first place?

  4. Leanna

    I also dislike when the Bourbon is not reflective of the book, especially if I paid full price for that book.

  5. Dakota Cassidy

    Well, thanks much! I can’t take credit for the blurb, but I was so happy with them! Thous, as an aside, most traditional authors don’t write their own blurbs. A blurb writer handles it and you, as the author, get to give it a once-over in case the blurb has changed since you wrote the book (blurbs are usually written from the five chapters you sell on, and as we all know, stuff can change. LOL!).

    Also, just as a quick FYI, the person who does the blurb usually isn’t the editor who edits the book or the copy editor or even the proofer. So, if there are typos etc in the blurb, it isn’t necessarily indicative of the book itself 🙂

    Oh, and I LOVED Penny Jordan, too! And Charlotte Lamb, remember her? 🙂

    • KarenL (@Aleveria)

      So ummm, HI! You totally saw my graphic of your book… And I just finished reading it. (keep your eye on this site btw *hint hint*)

      I figure with mass-produced and polished self-published books the blurbs would be written by editors. I also get that if there’s a typo or two it might not translate to the book. I’m mostly referring to summaries that are grammar errored/typo riddled-ish. And yes, I realize that sentence is ironic. 😉

      But yeah, I love that you stepped in to give us the other side of the coin. Writing on the web is as close as I’ll ever get to being published, so I’ll never have that perspective. Hearing it from authors is the kind of feedback readers love to hear.

      OMG Penny Jordan. such a huge influence on my dating life – which makes me feel bad for my early dates. Such a high standard. Charlotte Lamb, Violet Winspear… so many women that led me to my prince charming. And people say reading romance novels is a waste of time. Feh. 😉

  6. Dakota Cassidy

    You know what’s funny? I can’t remember a daggone title t save my soul, but I remember sneaking off and reading those under my covers in my bedroom with a flashlight. LOL! Loved them!

  7. bn100

    most of the above; skip books with vague blurbs, grammatical errors, blurbs filled with review quotes; no blurb

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