Rants and Raves – Of Honesty in Book Reviews…

The other day I got a book recommendation from a Goodreads friend. I checked reviews both on Goodreads and Amazon and there were hardly any. One of the few I found said “I hardly read nor write these kinds of book reviews anymore. I’ve become quite suspicious of the integrity of reviews & whether or not they are of true, sincere reviewers or that of authors’ “fangirls”” This statement is the main reason I write this post today, because I totally understand where this commenter is coming from.

I had some years during college where I didn’t read fiction at all. When I re-discovered my love for fiction, I discovered book bloggers. I followed some religiously but then something happened. They would give a 4 or 5 star rating to a book which I’d then read and find as dull as dish water. So after 2 or 3 more of those I decided that though it is possible our book tastes have evolved, its also quite possible that there might be outside influences to those reviews. So I decided to start my own blog. To be honest I didn’t expect ‘followers’. My boyfriend was tired of me discussing romance books with him so he urged me to get an outlet 🙂

I was brutal in my honesty. Then read a post from a blogger who was really angry at “bloggers who put author’s down”. I had never really considered how much time authors spend reading reviews of their books. So I decided that I’d still be honest in my reviews BUT I would always find something positive to say about a book. I remember one book ending with the author’s note saying “I appreciate honesty as I want to improve…” So I wrote my review again dividing it into positives and negatives (the latter far outweighed the former). I later realized that no, the author was not very keen on honesty… at least not that kind of honesty that is actually…you know… honest.

Then one day I’m on Goodreads contemplating buying a book. I read a few reviews then realized that a Goodreads friend had reviewed the book and she held no punches. I believe the words she used was “It would be a 1 Star read but the end made me add a 2nd star”. And that was the best part of the review! The rest of the review consisted of eyerolls and the most creative GIFs I’ve ever seen. The end thanked the publisher or author, I forget which, for the review copy 🙂 I applauded her for her brutal honesty, though she did later tell me she felt guilty.

Since I started blogging, rather reviewing books, I’ve realized what those outside influences are. I still do my negatives and positives thing and once I got an email from an author saying that she appreciated my honesty and that she hoped I’d read her other books to see her development as a writer. I loved that email, but I won’t kid myself into expecting more of those!

Though I understand the hard work author’s put in, I’ll feel so wrong if my review encourages someone to buy a book which in my opinion is really not worth the buy. Am I as gung ho as before? No. I haven’t given a 1 star lately because to be honest, I reach 10% and the book is still a 1 star I put it down. On the flip side, I read a good book, I’ll shout from the rooftops to get it noticed. And yes, probably become that author’s fangirl if her books are and remain that good 🙂


This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Rants and Raves – Of Honesty in Book Reviews…

  1. Tiadeets says:

    I really understand this! A publisher house has sent me book for some years now and I really dislike the last 2 books they sent me. I’ve written that. For the first, I really really hated it and I didn’t find a single positive point (and when I searched on the web, there was only one other person who dislikes it), I wrote it like that and at the end, I wrote that I felt sorry for the author because I know how difficult it is but no matter what, I couldn’t say I like it.

    P.S.: Tell me if you there’s something you don’t understand, English is not my first language.

    • I understand perfectly (English is also not my first language 🙂 )

      I think it’s really weird when you’re that lone voice that didn’t like a book. But you have to stay true to what you thought of the book. And there will be many people who appreciate that honesty. And for those who don’t, there are so many book bloggers and reviewers out there, a niche for everyone.

      Thanks for the comment Tiadeets!

      • Tiadeets says:

        And as the publisher house gives me the books, I felt really weird for this one, but now I feel better and I can be more honest because I don’t feel like betrayong them.

      • I feel less guilty with publishers and more guilty when authors send books directly to me! But oh well! 🙂 x

  2. Athena says:

    I await your shouts from the roof tops!!!
    FYI Upon your recommend I read ‘comfort food’ Wow disturbingly very good. I’m also reading ‘dark duet 1 & 2’ wow wee. This dark thing “that you like” is agonizingly great. Thank You. I’ve also read all the RK Lilly’s ‘grounded’ series & Jodi Ellen Malpas’s ‘this man’ series. ALL YOUR great reviews have influenced me so please don’t change this ‘being real’ review process.
    Awaiting the roof top shouts,

    • Glad you liked Comfort Food and the Dark Duet… in fact I’ll be having an interview and giveaway with CJ Roberts soon 🙂 And thanks so so so much following my reviews ❤ I'll be shouting from the rooftops soon 🙂 x

  3. Amy Queau says:

    This was exactly what I was looking for when I stumbled across your blog. I have recently written a book, and I was looking into whether or not it’s even worth looking for someone to review it. I feel, if the story is good, and the book is well-written, it will stand on its own. Alas, in order to properly promote it, reviews are necessary to get the word out. But I truly love an honest review – most review sites are merely looking for the author to promote their site for more hits. I completely understand that logic, but that isn’t going to help me as a writer – constructive criticism and an honest critique are so important for the writer. But, I’ll tell ya, finding someone to review your book, that doesn’t have their own ratings in mind, is hard to come by.

    • I do think a lot of books right now would not have been recognized were it not for bloggers and reviewers and so I understand when those authors appreciate those bloggers. I doubt there’s any blogger out there who can honestly say they don’t appreciate the extra hits they get once an author appreciates their site. Luckily there’re still some bloggers and a few Goodreads friends whose reviews I trust implicitly…so don’t give up on our lot just yet Amy! x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s