Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mean or Honest? Bloggers & Negative Reviews


Hi Guys! It's time for a little personal reflection in Libraryland...
(and yes, that's me making funny faces at the camera)

So, today I was browsing through Goodreads and reading people's reviews for a bunch of different books-- some were for books I liked, and others for ones that I didn't. And as I was reading, I noticed something that seemed to come up again and again-- readers apologizing profusely for giving their honest opinions about a book they did not personally care for.

Now, this really got me thinking, because it bothered me. Why are these lovely readers apologizing again and again for honestly saying what they didn't like about a book? Do they think they are offending someone? Are they afraid of getting bullied by the big-bad Goodreads trolls?? Are they ashamed to admit that they read a book and **gasp!** didn't like it?

I was confused by this phenomenon-- mainly because I have absolutely zero problem with stating quite clearly that I hated a book.

No apologies for being mean.

No blaming myself for not liking it.

No excuses for why I thought it sucked.

I just hated it, plain and simple.

So let me try to explain my way of thinking as a reader and a reviewer of books-- and I know not everyone is going to agree with this and that's totally OK.

Basically, I go into reading books for many different reasons. Sometimes I'll pick something up because the cover caught my eye or the story sounded particularly intriguing. Other times-- I won't lie-- I start a book because it got tons of ranting and negative feedback and I have to see if the thing is really as big of a train-wreck as everyone says it is. In some cases, I'll absolutely love a book I started out thinking I might not like. Take Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick for example-- I LOVED it! And other times I go into a book with the best of intentions and I just can't stand it-- The Replacement by Brenna Yavanoff would be a good instance. One star all the way, baby.

But does that make me a horrible reviewer-- just because I gave the Dreaded One Star and made my point very clear as to why I gave that rating?

I really don't think so. Not only am I giving honest feedback on how I felt about a book-- which is informative to other readers-- but in a lot of cases I almost feel like I'm still promoting that book with the negative review because so many readers think like me--> WOW, it sucked THAT bad?!? I have to go check this one out and see for myself!

So, there ya go. I get to rant, and the book gets more publicity than if I'd meekly watered down my opinions and merely stated "it just wasn't for me guys, SORRY, don't be mad, I'm not trying to be mean..."

In fact, I should probably point out yet another phenomenon here-- which is that my MOST POPULAR reviews on Goodreads and my blog are not for books I loved and raved about but rather-- you guessed it!-- for those 1 and 2-star reviews where I really got on my soapbox and ranted my little heart out. Which leads me to believe that people do appreciate honesty and find those kinds of reviews to be both heartfelt and interesting.

Now, let me also state that there is a BIG difference between giving legitimate reasons for not liking a book-- even ranting a bit-- and then totally abusing and otherwise trashing a book or author. Ranting I can deal with, if the reasons for doing so are backed up, but it is never OK in my opinion to trash someone or their hard work just for the heck of it. I do rant at times, but I don't think it's unprofessional, because a.) I always explain WHY I'm ranting, and b.) I would never tell someone NOT to read a book just because I personally didn't like it.

And here's another thing-- are you one of those people who doesn't thoroughly trust the reviews of people who give 4 and 5 star reviews for everything?? I know I am - because I just can't relate to it. If you totally love every single book you read, well that's great, but I don't, so your reviews probably aren't going to be that helpful to me, because I have no frame of reference for how you're judging your books, other than hey, you fall head over heels for every single one. I gain much more insight into a reader's thoughts once I've read BOTH their negative and positive reviews.

Finally, I always have my Review Policy to fall back on, just in the in-case that someone has a serious issue with what I have to say on my blog or any other public platform where I voice my opinions:

"LC's Adventures in Libraryland reviews books within the Young Adult Fiction genre. I freely choose the books that I review based on whether or not I think they will interest me and be enjoyable to my readers. As I'm sure you can tell, reading is a great passion of mine, and I have no reservations about stating my personal thoughts and opinions about the books that I read. I DO NOT pass over a review simply because I did not like a particular book: I follow my rating system and will post both positive and negative reviews.

Also, just because I may not personally like a book does not mean it's a "bad book." Everyone likes their own thing, so even if I seem particularly "harsh" about a book, I want to emphasize it is just my personal opinion. I would encourage everyone to read the books I review-- positive or negative-- and judge for themselves whether it was good or not. That is the whole point of blogging reviews for books, after all!"

I guess my final word is this: You as a reader should never have to apologize for not liking a book. It is perfectly OK to state why you didn't like something you read, and that's not being mean, that's being honest. In fact, your negative review of a book is just as worthy of respect and consideration as the next person who couldn't stop gushing about it. I actually consider it my responsibility to my followers and fellow readers to be as honest as possible, and I think I'd be doing them and myself a disservice if I wasn't perfectly honest about my likes AND dislikes as a reader. Furthermore, all authors should know that when they are published, they are putting their work out there to be seen and judged by the public-- that is the very nature of being published. If an author is not OK with receiving BOTH positive and negative feedback, then I'm sorry, but they are in the wrong profession. I am not an author, I am not published, and I give credit to each and every writer who is. That takes hard work and guts to put yourself out there. But just as it is their right to speak their minds and put their honest words out there, it is our right to do the same!

*****
So in honor of the books I couldn't stand, I'm leaving you with a fun feature: A showcase of the very best of the worst on my blog! Here are the books I ranted on and on about-- but you know what? I remember every single one, and I had so much fun sharing my thoughts about them. Also, in no way did I think reading and reviewing these books was a waste of time-- each one gave me the opportunity to express my opinions and hone my abilities to analyze and critique works of fiction-- and to me, that makes reading even a crappy book worth it.

But don't take my word for it, go out and read them yourself! In fact, I guarantee that after reading some of these negative reviews, a couple of you are going to bump these up on your lists to read next, because you have to see for yourselves if they really, truly are as bad as I thought they were.

And honestly? I seriously hope that you do-- because I'd love to hear what you think about them too! :)

~LC's Best of the Worst~
Click on the cover to go to the review!



 Of all the books I've read and reviewed on my blog, this is probably the one that I take the most issue with-- want to know why? Click on the cover to find out!





I was so dedicated to explaining why I couldn't stand this one, that I even included cartoons to illustrate my dislike!







The totally creep-tastic cover did not save this book for me-- like, at all. Couldn't stand it. Click the cover to find out why...







Holy crap, this one was a serious train-wreck for me-- beginning to end!







Ah, yes-- the Fallen series by Lauren Kate. I love it and hate it at the same time. Impossible you say? Read my reviews for all 3! :)







Pretty, empty words with a zero-action plot and no character motivation was my main beef with the second book in the Matched trilogy. It was beyond boring-- and that's me being totally honest.




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60 comments:

  1. I agree! I got a book for review and I really didn't like it, and I was debating whether to post it, and because of this post, I'm going to post it. I usually post three to five star reviews, so I guess it would be good to change it up a bit. Thanks for your thoughts!

    Eileen @ ***Singing and Reading in the Rain***

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  2. Well put :) I agree that I don't usually take recommendations from someone who never gives a low rating. I do feel guilty giving a one star, I usually don't drop below two because I think they get one just for the courage to put it out there and the second because there's gotta be SOMETHING redeeming about the book. That and I get guilty when it's less than two, I'll be honest I get guilty about two. My best friend trolls my blog for the bad reviews because she thinks its funny when I get on my soap box. I'm pretty sure she doesn't even read any of my reviews that are 4 stars or higher, she just notes them as something she might want to check out and then reads the rest for entertainment value. But with so many bloggers who will only review the books they liked and can rate highly it does make me feel like one of the mean bloggers at times.

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    1. Haha that's pretty funny that your friend trolls your reviews :P Well just know that there are readers/bloggers out there who appreciate your honest reviews, both positive and negative! ;)

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    2. I'm not sure if I used the right word there lol. She flips through my blog but never comments or anything. Maybe lurks on the blog would have been a better term.

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  3. Holy crap.. this is one of the greatest blog posts ever. I have already had some difficulty writing "not so great" reviews. I do sort of feel bad but I have to be honest.... I think I will approach writing negative reviews very differently now. Thanks! :D

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  4. Love this post, Lea! I personally LOVE negative reviews. I like them far better than positive reviews. I don't know why. I guess I just love when a blogger dissects a book and explains why they didn't like it. Negative reviews are so much more helpful, though I tend to read them after I've read the book myself. Otherwise, I'll be going into the book, thinking I'll hate it, which I don't like to do. I don't really trust reviewers that love all the books they read, because, honestly, not ALL books are 4 or 5 star worthy. I read your reviews for Wildefire and Shattered Souls on Goodreads. I particularly like the Shattered Souls review because you incorporate humor. :D Anyway. Fabulous review, Lea. Negative--correction: HONEST--reviews are the way to go.

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    1. Same way with me, I think negative reviews that are well thought out and well-written are very interesting! And yes, they are absolutely helpful. I never write off books just because I read negative reviews for them-- in fact, the more passionately people talk about the good and bad of a book, the more likely I am to pick it up and try it myself!

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  5. I totally agree with you! I recently posted a pretty negative review for Embrace by Jessica Shirvington. I hated the whole story, except for one character that redeemed it slightly for me. I think negative reviews need to be shared. But, I don't think they should get so downright nasty as to bash the author. I think there are some fine lines that shouldn't be crossed when writing a negative review. I've read reviews where it's like "This author is a stupid idiot, and can't write if her life depended on it." And that's just rude, I think. If you have an issue with the book, fine, but don't take it out on the author.

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    1. That's funny, I liked Embrace! Which goes to show you how subjective reviewing is... yes, the kind of bashing you mention, that is just rude and unprofessional, not to mention it makes those people sound like morons lol :D

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  6. This is a great post. I find myself feeling horrible if I didn't like a book and so I rarely review the ones I don't like. I'll do it if I am part of a tour or received a review copy, but holy cow. I hate doing it. But clearly, I need to get over that and just be professional and honest in negative reviews.

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    1. I think that as long as you state your honest opinion and your reasons for not liking a book, you'll be OK-- and you know what? It can actually be very therapeutic to get all those thoughts out! :)

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  7. I'm with you 100%. Don't be sorry for not liking a book. However I am a firm believer in explaining why you didn't like it- just saying it sucked is bullying to me, and I am not for bullying at all. This was a fun post. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Exactly-- the key is you need to back up what your saying! I don't pay any attention to reviews that say either like or hate if there is no reasoning to explain WHY.

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  8. I agree! I don't really have that many negative reviews because I"m pretty picky about books and only read those I think I'll like, but I have occasionally gotten a book I just hated! I try to focus on it's redeeming qualities, but I'll also rant about those things I just didn't like. At the end of those kinds of reviews, I'll usually end by recommending similar books that I enjoyed, so as to end on a positive note!

    ~Debz @ Debz Bookshelf

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  9. I totally agree with your statements. I do feel bad sometimes giving a bad review (and I may possibly be guilty of saying sorry once or twice) but I do feel bad that the author put so much work into a book and I didn't like it. With that being said, I think the thing that annoys me most is when reviewers bash a book outrageously, and THEN say sorry. If you don't like the book, that's fine, but explain it in a way that others will understand what it was about the book that didn't appeal to you. (Your negative reviews, which I love, are a perfect example of a way that you can give a book a bad review, without being critical just for the sake of being critical). And I wholeheartedly agree with you on the constant five-star reviews. It is a personal pet peeve of mine to constantly see five-star postings via Twitter and I ask myself "Do you have to love EVERYTHING you read? Will there ever be a book that only merits a three or four star review?!?"

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  10. I love writing negative reviews strangly enough, I need someone to rant to and my followers are who get my rants. I find rants entertaining to read and write. I like your cartoon idea I may steal it mwahahaha!

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  11. This is a fun post. As I was reading, I was chuckling to myself because I specifically remembered your Shattered Souls post...I'll still eventually read that one for myself probably (one day, down the road) but I'll remember your rants while I do. They made me chuckle and I believe I even told you so. Yay for publicity, right?

    I agree with you on the trashing of books. I cannot EVER stand behind that. Books or authors, really. If someone puts their heart and soul into a work, I may not like it but I will never trash it. THAT BEING SAID...

    I do tend to have mostly 4 or 5 star ratings on Goodreads. I'm one of those people. I tend to hate rating systems anyway. My opinions fluctuate and I just don't think I feel consistently about much of anything in my life: songs, movies, or books. So I HATE ratings systems. I do not have one on my blog. I use one on Goodreads because, well, you practically have to. But I also am VERY SELECTIVE in what I choose to read for pleasure and read for review. So since I know my tastes, I usually hover in the 3-5 star range. I don't necessarily think that makes me untrustworthy, it just makes me selective. But then again, my blog posts about the books aren't really "real reviews" anyway, they're just my thoughts, so...

    Love discussion posts! This one is great!

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    1. I don't think you need to have a rating system in place in order to state your thoughts and opinions on a book, but I do use mine fairly consistently and put a lot of thought into what rating I'll give a book, which is why I use one.

      Thanks for sharing! :)

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  12. I think if a negative review is done fairly and properly it doesn't warrant an apology. Not all books are for going to please everyone. We all have different opinions and thoughts. Let's face it, some negative reviews might give me insight as to why I'd love the book.

    That said there *are* reviewers who are a bit too vicious and don't really give reasons. Well supported reasons are necessary!

    On my blog I rarely do negative reviews, mainly because I DNF any book I'm really disliking. If it's one I finished I won't hesitate. It's in my policy, if they don't like it...that's their problem. As for my DNFs, I do often leave a list of reasons or a mini-review stating why on Goodreads, without rating them.

    Amanda @ Letters Inside Out

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  13. I don't write critical reviews anymore because I seem to have a talent for making books I didn't hate sound like utter crap. For me personally I find it a waste of time and energy to review bad books. If I don't like it, I simply let it be. I prefer to express enthusiasm about books I did like. That's just me, though. I wouldn't criticize someone who writes negative reviews. It's not like I've never done it.

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    1. I find writing negative reviews to books I didn't like to be therapeutic lol-- because reading is something that means a lot to me, I think it's easy for me to get passionate and worked up about things I like and don't like, so to get it all out in words helps me. And honestly, sometimes it's just fun to rant :)

      But of course, I also express the same levels of enthusiasm for books I love too!

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  14. There's nothing wrong with giving a negative review in my opinion as long as it's constructive. I try to be tactful when giving a negative review. I don't want to hurt people's feelings. I'm not going to like everything I read and it's a fact. I love reading books and can't stand when people bash others opinions. Goodreads has become a hot bed for controversary. I try to stay out of the drama.

    Grace

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  15. Great post. I agree, although I may be the kind of reviewer you hate. lol

    I did a post on my new rating system, etc. I referenced this post.

    http://www.bookmarkyourthoughts.com/2012/04/am-i-too-lenient-new-rating-system.html

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  16. What a fabulous and enlightening post!! Like you, I enjoy ranting and my 1 star reviews are my favorite reviews that I've written. Books such as Falling Under, Before I Die, and Dead Until Dark. I think I do much better with books I hated than books I loved, sadly. My sarcasm really comes out, and typically if I like the book I write much shorter reviews. I loved it, what more is there to say?
    But like you said, NEVER apologize for being honest - about anything! Thank you for this great topic :)

    Jessi @ Auntie Spinelli Reads

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  17. I agree with everything you said here, and I am so glad you posted about this. I always have a hard time posting negative reviews, especially when it's for something written by a self-published author, because of negative experiences I've had in the past with posting negative reviews (meaning: the authors were offended/upset by a negative review, even though it was my honest opinion and even though I encouraged people to still read the books if it sounded like something they're interested in). After reading your review policy, I may revise mine slightly, because I think it's important that you noted you will post negative reviews as well as positive reviews.

    I have a hard time trusting people who always rate things with 4 or 5 star ratings, too, and sometimes, I wonder if I'm that type of reader. I hope I'm not, but sometimes I feel like I am, since most of what I review are books that I bought or checked out at the library, and in most cases, if I don't like something (especially if it's from the library), I just won't finish reading it.

    Thanks again for posting this!

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    1. The whole thing with authors and publicists getting offended and ticked off by reader's reviews seriously bugs me-- if you don't want the public to honestly critique your work, then don't put it out there!! Only let people read it who you know will love it and send you awesome reviews filled with sunshine and rainbows-- I don't know, that's my thoughts on that.

      In the end, I think it all comes down to how you're presenting your thoughts, while still being respectful, which I think we book bloggers really try to do.

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  18. I agree with you! Though, if you look at my blog, I haven't posted any books under 3 stars because I have this thing where if I can't get into a book by so many pages, I don't finish it.

    I don't like to waste my time. But normally at the end of the year, I'll take my notes from the books that I didn't finish that I save on my laptop and on notecards and put up the list of books that I didn't finish and tell why I didn't love it, but I still encourage people to read them even if I didn't.

    I'm also really good at finding books that I'd love. My TBR list is SO long, that if I think I'm really going to like it, I normally WILL like it. If that makes sense. But I do mess up sometimes. >< This year, so far, I think I only have had two books I couldn't finish. That was The Repossession. I couldn't even get through a few pages! I couldn't understand what I was reading and the character was so weird.

    But there are a lot of books that I liked, and thought I'd love, but didn't love. And I gave them 3 stars.

    Great post! =)

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    1. I've heard a lot of other reviewers say the same thing, that if they don't start liking a book within so many pages, they'll DNF it and move on without an official rating. Which is totally fine, but at the same time, I personally don't consider reading books I'm not liking to be a waste of time-- there's actually still something very enjoyable and-- I don't know-- character building? to finishing books I'm not a fan of and then stating clearly what I didn't like. If that made any sense LOL :P

      I guess what I'm trying to say is, whether it's a book I like or a book I don't like, in either case I get the chance to reflect and express my thoughts and opinions. So to me, it isn't a waste of time either way, and I enjoy writing both the positive and negative reviews :)

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  19. My problem is that I LOVE all books. My husband is constantly telling me to stop saying things like "best book ever". I don't think there is anything wrong with giving a bad review though. Why be a reviewer if you're not going to be completely honest?

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    1. And if you really, truly love every book you read and that's you as a reader, that is awesome! Seriously, I think my main point is that no matter what, you should be honest and stay true to yourself as a reader :)

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  20. Thanks for writing this! Say it like it is. I'm still practicing being mean, don't know if I'll ever get it. ;) Though I have a given 2 star rating before. ;)

    Thanks for this!

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  21. I did NOT like 'Crossed' at all. It was boring. Nothing happened. They just hung out in no man's land for awhile. Ugh. Huge let down.

    I'm actually struggling to write a review right now. I'm trying to not be overly negative--or spoilery--but I just want to scream the details of this book. Ah!! I told my husband about the book and he laughed hysterically at the stupid-ness of it. *sigh* it's for a blog tour so I DO feel bad, but I need to acurately portray how I felt. It took me 2 freaking weeks to get through it!

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  22. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! I think I can be guilty of being meek about my negative reviews. I try not to. But I know I've done it at least once. I love that you put this out there though. I really love everything about this post.

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  23. Ah, yes. *sigh* This is a living nightmare that every blogger/reviewer faces and truth be told i hate it. I am one of those people who avoids maing negetive points on books anthe i become guilty because of it.I try not to think about it again, but it's there in the back of my head poking and nagging me everytime. The only time i have truly hated a book was Crossed by Ally condie and i have wrote my opinion on my review and i haven't looked back at it. it's simple; i didn't like the book. Now, i feel much better.

    Thanks for this post and I really love your snaps of funny faces! lol.

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  24. Great post! I agree that readers shouldn't be afraid to give negative reviews. Quite often if I dislike a book, reading a bad review is cathartic because it's nice to know someone else out there had the same issues! I also agree with what you said about people who rate everything 4 or 5 stars. I prefer to rate out of 10 on my blog, but on Goodreads, I very rarely give 5 stars. I hope that when I do, people understand that it's because I really, really LOVED the book, rather than just my default go-to rating for any book I liked.

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  25. Great post! Happened to me a while back, and ack, my reviews seem a little harsh sometimes, even to me, but I'm blogging mainly for the readers, not the authors. And as long as it isn't a personal attack, I don't see what's the big deal. Funny thing is, I have a lot of comments on some of my rant-filled, negative reviews from readers saying that my review actually made them want to pick up the book!

    Misa
    The Magic Attic Book Blog

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  26. I'm just starting out, so I haven't yet experienced this yet, but I feel the same way. It gives me a good idea of the blogger's taste and yeah, sometimes it's very intriguing. I also find the same thing with negative feedback. If you're not going to completely trash the author of the post, then it's welcome!
    Really interesting post.

    Sophie
    www.dogearedandcoffeestained.blogspot.com I review books, music and movies.

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  27. I think it is very important to blog honestly so that people do know what to look for in a book. However, I'm at the point where there are so many books to read, that if I really don't like a book, I will give up and move on to something I do. I also think it needs to be done with criticisms on the book, not the author. After meeting an author last November that I hung out with and had a few drinks, and really kind of feel like is a friend now, I do understand how it can be really hard for them to read bad reviews though. So I feel it is important to make sure you are giving real reasons for not liking something if you bash it, and not bashing the author just because you didn't like the story.

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  28. I think a lot of bloggers apologize because of the author/publicist backlash these days. For me, I'll point out things I don't like, but if I can't say enough positive things to balance it, I personally won't post the review. I also don't rate my reviews. These are decisions I've made for various reasons. That said, I'll still read reviews when people have given it a low rating. I always like to see why they don't like it, especially if I'm on the fence!

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  29. Hi, Lea! Wow, lots of comments. Sometimes the reviewer is really trying to clarify that she is judging the book, not the book's fans. For example, I don't even tell people I hate "Mad Men" anymore because they assume I'm judging them negatively for loving it. I just tell them, "Sorry, not my cuppa."

    As a writer, I give all books on Goodreads five stars just because. This probably helps balance out all the people who don't even read a book and give it one-star. Seriously, I just saw a book trashed based on the synopsis.

    It is hard for authors to get bad reviews, but there are different types of bad reviews. There is the totally-clueless reviewer, the not-my-cuppa reviewer, the reviewer-who-wants-to-snark, and the thoughtful reviewer. Personally, I don't give any credence to the snarkers, but their reviews can be the most fun to read, sort of like overhearing a bitchy girl's rant on the bus.

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    1. I definitely get annoyed by the people who give books one stars simply because the book wasn't in the genre they thought it would be-- I've read one star reviews where people are actually mad because they started reading something that they didn't even both to look into and find out what it was about first-- so, it's like the book gets trashed when it was their fault for not doing their research in the first place! Just like you said, it is totally unfair to trash a book based on just a synopsis or just because it wasn't what you thought it was going to be genre-wise.

      I also like reading the snarky reviews, and sometimes I think I get snarky as a humorous outlet to my frustrations with a particular book-- and I'd rather hear people being humorous and sarcastic rather than just plain nasty. For me, it's easier to just not take my rants too seriously, I mean why get all worked up anyways, right? So I just have fun with it-- that is why I read in the first place after all! No need for people to get angry!

      Finally, I do always end-- or try to end my reviews-- by saying it wasn't FOR ME, not that it isn't for anyone, because we all have our liked and dislikes. I would never tell people to not read a book just because I personally didn't care for it.

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    2. Hey, you gave me a "meh" review, but you put thought into it, and I appreciate that. You're right that negative reviews don't hurt sales as much as authors think they might. For fun, check out the thousands of one-star ratings on Goodreads for Pride and Prejudice. Here's my favorite criticism: "For several pages a lady remarks to a man about what wonderful handwriting he has. Not exactly gripping material."

      Despite the hating, the book is in no serious trouble of being forgotten.

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    3. Hahaha that criticism is hilarious! :D And that's my favorite book of all time too LOL :P

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  30. Okay. I need to say something. I've seen a lot of talk about bloggers who bash authors in their reviews. I have YET to see a review that bashes an author. I have seen some pretty mean book reviews, but they have not bashed the author. They have ranted about the book, but not the author. If you attack the bad writing or themes in the book (such as sexism), that is not attacking the author. Comparing a book to Twilight is not attacking the author. And I wish people would stop saying it. That is all.

    Otherwise, Lea I agree with you.

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    1. Hmmm... I don't think I can give an example where someone directly bashed the author either, come to think of it... And I agree, even those harsh reviews that bash a book and its writing, those aren't directly attacking the author, even if the author feels like they're being personally attacked. Which I guess I could understand from their point of view, as writing is most likely something very personal to them. But then that goes back to the whole point of not putting your work out there to be read and critiqued by the public if you really can't handle it!

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    2. You hit the nail on the head. I'm not saying it doesn't hurt to get your book ranted about. It sucks and it feels personal, sure. But if someone is attacking the book and not the author, it's not MEANT to be personal. I put money in your pocket. For you to turn around and attack me for my opinions (even if they are negative, which still sells) is f*cked up six ways from sunday. And you are right. Don't put your work out there if you don't want it critiqued. It IS personal. But if you can't handle reading negative reviews (as an author), maybe you shouldn't?

      <3 you Lea. Thank you for letting me rant. It didn't go over too well on Twitter.

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    3. Haha awww no problem <3 you too! :D

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  31. And I know you didn't say that in your post. I was more or less responding to a few of the comments.

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  32. I'm starting a book blog of my own and I'm currently working on transferring my reviews from goodreads to my blog. I was apprehensive about posting some of my negative reviews on there, but you make some really great points! Thanks for posting!

    http://bookinbloom.blogspot.com/ <- my humble little blog, it's still a work in progress, but feel free to check it out if you like.

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  33. Thanks for the personal insight! I like your straight forward no sugar coat reviews. Your honest and give very valid reasons why you liked or didn't like a book!

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  34. First time visitor to your blog.

    Have to say I agree with what you say. Reading is a personal choice and the book I like many others won't and visa versa. Its a personal opinion.

    Great post!

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  35. Hey Lea! So happy to see that your posting got such a response!!!! I enjoyed it so much I posted it on my blog. Thanks for being real and honest and for encouraging other bloggers to do the same. Don't ever change, some of us need to be reminded that our blogs and reviews are helping authors no matter how our opinions vary.
    http://karathewriter.blogspot.com/2012/04/looking-for-my-winner-and-other-cool.html

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  36. Personally, it comes down to the difference between a negative review and a bad review.

    A negative review is critical and thoughtful, detailing why a particular book didn't work.

    A bad review is an all-out rant that provides next-to-no constructive criticism. I.e., "this book sucked because the characters were stupid." (Definitely oversimplifying, but you get the point).

    I have absolutely no qualms about posting a negative review, because I have the right to my opinion. And, like you, it is stated in my review policy that I will post both positive and negative reviews, and that my reviews are merely my opinion. I'd probably laugh if an author who requested that I review their book became angry with me for disliking it - especially when you take the time to go through my reviews. A mere handful are 5-stars, slightly more are 4-stars, but the majority fall in 3-star and under. I can be hard to please, but I am unapologetic. I don't think I should be blamed for setting my expectations high, or for carefully handing out 5-Star ratings.

    I also love reading those snarky negative reviews (which I know a lot of people aren't fans of). But if you're personality is a little sarcastic, I don't see why it should be an issue to let your personality shine in your reviews as long as your snark is backed up by actual criticisms.

    At the end of the day, a negative review is not going to stop me from reading a book. It might help move it down my TBR pile, but I like to make up my own mind. What will stop me? An author who reacts poorly to negative reviews. Not everyone will love everything they read, and the sooner these younger YA author's learn that, the better.

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    1. Well said!

      Also what would be the fun in reading all-loving reviews? It's a person's personal thoughts and opinions as well as likes and dislikes that makes me enjoy a review.

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    2. Kelly, I am very similar to you in that I don't hand out 5-star reviews very easily-- it takes A LOT for a book to earn those 5 stars from me! I've even dedicated a page of my blog to just those books that truly "WOWED" me and stood out from all the rest.

      I'd say the majority of the books I read fall around the 3-4 star rating, and even ones that I loved but didn't have that "extra something" still only get 4.5's :)

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  37. As an author, you're right, it does suck to get a negative review, but like Kara said, there is a difference between attacking a book you didn't like, and an author. I've received negative reviews that seemed like a direct attack on me, however, I've also received negative reviews that have offered such a wealth of information and insight for me, my writing has improved beacuse of it. There is far more to learn from a negative review then there is from a positive one. And there is a big difference between honest and critical, and being mean. Tact is just something some people don't have.

    I agree that you should never apologize for leaving a negative review. It's not your fault that specific book didn't reach you like it may have reached others. As a book blogger, I think if you aren't going to be honest in both a positive and negative way, you can't expect people to respect your opinion as a reviewer. Not to mention there are a TON of readers out there that won't read books with only 4 and 5 star reviews. They won't take two looks at it, and when they're interested in a book, some of the avid readers I know will only read the 1 and 2 star reviews.

    As for always rating books 4 or 5 stars, I'm totally one of those readers, but I have a valid reason. I'm a writer, I work full-time, I have a family, etc. I don't have time to push through a book I don't like. You get 50 pages of my time, 100 if I'm on the fence, if you haven't captured me by then, I don't have time to finish it. On the other side, if you capture me, I'm probably in love with the story you're telling and I'll read it in one sitting. That's the way I write too. If I can't capture you in those first 50 pages, there's a good chance it's not going to happen.

    This as a really great post! Thanks for this. :)

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    1. Thank you SO much for commenting, it's always so insightful to get an author's perspective on this :) And what is it about those 1 and 2 star reviews that are so addicting to read?? XD Haha, for me I guess they're a lot more interesting sometimes, but I'd never knock a book off my TBR pile just because of the 1 and 2 star reviews-- if anything, they usually catch my attention and make me WANT to read the book!

      Yeah, I didn't really consider while writing this post that there are readers out there who just don't have lower reviews because they don't bother to finish the ones that aren't working for them-- that's totally understandable. For me, I honestly like reading both the books I like and the books I don't like so much-- I take something away from both the good and bad experiences :) But I can see how people with limited reading time would only invest time and effort into those books that they'll be rating high anyways!

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  38. Love this post :D There is nothing wrong with posting a negative review, honest opinions are always the best to read. But I agree with what you said, there is also a big difference between voicing your opinions and trashing a book or author.

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  39. I totally agree with what you said; if a book isn't well-written or just doesn't do it for you, you should be able to say you don't like it without feeling bad! When I buy books, I look at reviews that bloggers like you write in order to see if it's a worthwhile buy. I'm glad for honesty when someones says it isn't that great, because I wouldn't want to buy a book that has been getting great reviews but ends up being a disappointment when I receive and read it. So thank you for your honesty and giving your true opinion on books!

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