Saturday, June 18, 2011

Clean novels or not?

Hi, everyone.

First, thank you for taking the time to follow my blog and read my reviews. I appreciate your interest.

Since I've had a lot of new people start following me recently, I probably need to make a few things clear. While I am "in search of well-written, clean novels," that doesn't mean only "squeaky clean" novels are reviewed here. I usually have no way of knowing if a book is "clean" before I agree to review it. I've read novels from usually "clean" publishers and imprints that have had an unexpected written-out bad word in the text or contained high levels of graphic violence.

Once I've agreed to review a book, I feel like I need to honor my word and review it--especially if I want future review copies from that publisher. However, I also find it helpful to know what a book does contain--should I avoid it?--rather than only having a limited list I know is acceptable. I assume others find this information useful, too.

Plus different people have different desires for what they want a book "clean" of and tolerances for books that don't meet that standard. I decided I should clearly let people know what my review phrases mean.

Levels of sex:
When I say "no sex" in a review, I mean anything from there literally was no mention or implication that sex occurs DURING this novel to "sex was implied (like a woman becomes married and has a baby) but it wasn't specifically stated in the text."

"No sex scenes" means there were no sex scenes. There may have been a lot of hot kissing or the characters may have talked or thought about sex, but I try to mention this and if arouse-the-reader language is used.

"No graphic sex scenes" means that the characters clearly had sex, but the scene was brief and didn't explicitly mention sexual body parts or give a graphic play-by-play. This generally includes some play-by-play foreplay action involving kissing and often caressing the face or upper body areas. I try to mention if any of the foreplay travels below the neck.

If there was graphic sex, I mention that and try to describe the length or frequency. I skim over these parts, but I can still include that information.

Levels of bad language:
"Explicit bad language" or just "bad language" means that spelled out bad words--what Americans generally consider to be bad language in a swearing/cussing/cursing sense--were used. These are words generally understood to be offensive to some degree, even if these words don't bother you. I don't count it as bad language if the words are used in correct, non-offensive contexts. I mention if British or other bad words were used, but I'm American so I might unintentionally miss some of those.

"'He cussed' style bad language" means that we're told the character uses bad language but the actual bad words were not spelled out.

"Fake bad language" refers to words that people use instead of bad language to mean the same thing but without offending other people.

"No bad language" means that no bad language was used.

Before June 18, 2011, the following rate definitions weren't always exact. Sometimes I counted the bad words, but sometimes I didn't. I'll stick closely to these definitions in the future.

"A very minor amount" of bad language means there were only 1-5 bad words in the whole book. Usually it's only 1 or 2 bad words total.

"A minor amount of" or "only a few uses of" means that bad words were used at an average rate of 1 per every 30-65 pages.

"Occasional use of" means anything over "a minor amount" to an average of 1 bad word per every 20 pages. I started to use this on October 1, 2014, and it used to be included in "some."

"Some" bad language means anything over "occasional" to an average of 1 bad word per every 10 pages.

"A fair amount" of bad language means anything over "some" to an average of 1 bad word per every page.

"A lot of" bad language means anything higher than "a fair amount." It's unlikely I'd review such a book on this blog.

I also mention if crude language is used.

Levels of violence:
I generally only mention the level of violence if the book contains detailed, graphic gore or a high level of violence. I try to specifically explain what's in the book rather than falling back on code phrases.

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