Book blurbs – what words will put me OFF?

As a bookblogger/bookreviewer and a retired public library fiction cataloguer, I have read countless ‘blurbs‘ on novels.  Some I read avidly, while others I drop like ‘hot potatoes’!

Why would I dismiss a book so readily you ask?  Well, the blurb probably contained one of the following words:

 

Perhaps I’m missing out on some great reads by letting these words preclude me from reading these novels. Perhaps not. All I know is that there are a LOT of wonderful books out there and a girl just has to be a bit choosy now and then.

I understand that the words that dissuade me are the very same words that entice a lot of readers.  To each his/her own.

For every book there is a reader – For every reader there is a book.

What words put you off?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
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39 Responses to Book blurbs – what words will put me OFF?

  1. yvonnembee says:

    I am laughing as I read this. At the moment I am reading a book that has werewolves and demons in. I do agree with the erotic and lust ones though. I find the word “unputdownable” irritating. I prefer addictive or page turner, but not in a blurb. I am guilty of adding the occasional “must read” in a review, but then add “for readers of ….”. Love reading the other comments on this. Shows how varied readers are. Great post.

    Like

  2. brisblog2017 says:

    I wouldn’t like lust or erotica to be in the title because then it’s usually just about that and literally nothing else XD. But the rest of the words I am fine with because most teen books are about those topics and I myself am a teen 😛

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  3. Sandra says:

    Love the thread as much as your original post here! Epic … sweeping … saga – that will definitely grab me. Dystopia will always turn me away – although I am about to start reading a book I’ve been looking forward to for months and was horrified to read the blurb when I collected it from the library. It contains – you’ve guessed it – the dreaded ‘D’ word! I’m hoping the blurb writer is wrong! 😀

    The most interesting word on your original list for me was ‘fey’. There are a number of books I’ve read which friends haven’t enjoyed as much as me because they found them to be fey. And if I’m honest, if I read that word in the blurb I would think twice before choosing to read the book which is rather contrary. I think ‘feyness’ is best left unstated!

    And now, back to my delicious daydream – someone mentioned Outlander……. 😉

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  4. I agree with your list, except dystopia, if it’s well written. Another thing that turns me off is “Just like …. (Gone Girl, Janet Evanovich, etc.)” because they usually aren’t.

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    • Fictionophile says:

      There are always exceptions to every rule. I did really enjoy “The Children of Men” by P.D. James, but dystopic fiction doesn’t usually tempt me.
      I agree with your “Gone Girl” comment. Thanks.

      Like

  5. Exactly the same as you! Grrrrr

    Caryl x

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  6. Allie P. says:

    I’m with another commenter – aside from lust and erotica (I’m not a fan of steamy either) those the words that put you off draw me in.

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  7. Love your list! The word “lust” always made my skin crawl. I have no idea why but I’m thankful you agree and the word made your list!

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    • Fictionophile says:

      Ha-ha! Thanks. I was hesitant to put it in, as I do like lust, only I like it to not be overtly depicted, but left to the imagination. I find if the word is used in a blurb, then the book is graphically sexual and that doesn’t do anything for me. For instance I love the Outlander books. They have just enough lust for me, but with a good story as well.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Cathy says:

    Definitely erotica, lust and zombies would dissuade me. The others might take me past the blurb to look a bit closer.

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    • Fictionophile says:

      It is great to have varied tastes. There are exceptions to prove every rule. For instance I generally stay away from dystopia themed novels, but I loved “The children of men” by P.D. James. Thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cathy says:

        My pleasure 🙂 My taste has expanded incredibly since I began blogging and I’m enjoying the variation very much… and you’re right, there’s always that exception!

        Like

  9. Jen Lucas says:

    The words ‘must’ and ‘read’. Not good in a blurb. I’m the same with ‘must watch’ movies.

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    • Fictionophile says:

      Yes I agree. “Must read” is okay in a review but NOT in a book blurb. Too pushy! I dislike that type of hype by publishers. Also I hate it when they compare EVERY psychological thriller to “Girl on the train”! Okay already!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Christine says:

    Your list is my list, Lynne, plus for me, horror.

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    • Fictionophile says:

      Thanks for commenting Christine. It is interesting that you say horror. I quite like some horror, but not the zombies, ax wielding murder type horror. I like the type that is more psychological and insidious… For example: “The woman in black” by Susan Hill and “Harvest home” by Thomas Tryon

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Aside from ‘lust’ and ‘erotica’ (which always turn me away) your list consists of all my favorite go tos haha 😉 Different strokes. So I have to ask which words grab you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fictionophile says:

      As you say, different strokes for different folks. What words grab me? ‘family secrets’, ‘suspense’, ‘saga’, ‘gothic’, ‘literary’, and many more. Too many to mention. Also I prefer some settings over others. I love a British, Australian, Irish, or Scottish setting and stay clear of settings in the Far East or South America. There have been a few exceptions, but that holds true most of the time.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Effie Carayannis says:

    I’ve never really stopped to think about it… but yeah, all of the above are my put offs as well

    Like

  13. I cringe when I read the words “epic,” “sweeping,” and “saga.” Those translate as slow and unfocused to me, though I admit that’s probably not fair.

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  14. Same here..almost all the above words in the blurb totally put me off.

    Like

  15. Zombies and vampires. I outgrew the whole vampire faze, but zombies have never really been my thing.

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  16. skyecaitlin says:

    Ahhh, Lynne: we are indeed twins in this, as well—I don’t even read a review if I see any of the words, above. It seems to be a newer trend, and I don’t care for it.

    Like

    • Fictionophile says:

      Yes Skye. You wouldn’t believe how many vampire books I saw when working at the library. Also archangels, werewolves, etc. etc.

      Like

  17. Marjorie Roy says:

    I agree totally with you.

    Like

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