Well, hello. Fancy seeing you here.
What’s on my mind today you ask? Well, it’s reviews.
It’s something that is unavoidable in the book community. Publishers will use reviews to get a feel of how to promote certain books, what books to focus on in the future. Some readers use reviews to decide what to read next or which books to avoid. I wanted to talk about my thoughts on reviews, the problematics I see, and basically manage your expectation on the reviews you’ll see on this blog.
Firstly, full disclaimer, this blog will not be a review blog. Look, everyone has their strengths. Mine happens not to be writing a review. Hopefully, I will get better with time. No promises though, it’s just really not where I shine. I’ll be doing some reviews, but that will not be my main focus. When I will do reviews, my aim to be critical, say the pros and cons of a story and really try to explain why I liked or disliked an element.
Which leads to the trends I notice in the book community in relation to reviews.
One of the trends is what I call “author bashing”. There are a lot of reviews out there that are just negative spew aimed towards the author, sometimes insulting their talent and intellect. I have seen authors on Instagram having to tell their audience not to tag an author on these types of reviews since it is just cruel. There is no purpose or reason to demean some in a review.
Some reviews are just angry rants that are unnecessarily harsh. Some reviewers seem to take pleasure in bashing books in long post, trying to be “humoristic” or whatever, but there is no actual critique going on within said review.
I just don’t think you not enjoying a book warrants a personal attack towards the author. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I respect that. However just saying the author sucks and the story was stupid, just doesn’t count as an effective review in my opinion. However awful a book may be, someone did spend a lot of time and energy into it. Hate on the book all you like, just back it up with some reasoning not insults.
Readers Criticizing a Book Based on a Review vs Actually Reading it
Another aspect of reviews I always struggle with is how some readers cling to reviews to form their opinion of a book without even reading it. An example of which, let’s say a popular book blogger/booktuber/bookstagramer posts a review of a book they ended up disliking. Immediately the comments are filled “oh man, I was going to read this now I’m definitely not going to” or “ew definitely not picking this one then”.
What can end up happening is that those people go on to tell their friends not to read it or bash it without never picking it up.
Just form your own opinion!
The reviewers goal, in theory, should not to discourage you from trying out a book you were interested in. Their goal is to share their opinion. That’s it.
Even if you have the same reading taste as said reviewer, this could be the one book you disagree on and that’s perfectly ok. If a book looked interesting to you, try it out! Even if your favorite blogger didn’t like it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t just give it a shot.
What Makes a Good Review
In my opinion, for what it is worth, I think a strong review needs to be critical and analytical. Sometimes you just won’t connect with a book and that’s fine! But someone else might, so its best to just reflect on why it didn’t resonate with you instead of insulting the author for not making that connection.
When consuming reviews for personal use, just take each review with a grain of salt. Every review is someone’s opinion but it isn’t yours. Essentially, I think the best use of checking out reviews is to help manage my expectation of the story. Example: I tend to prefer a fast-paced thriller, when I check out reviews I look for comments on the pace, if I know in advance the book has a slower pace it helps me go into the book with the proper mindset.
Bottom line of this little article, when you’ll see a review on this page, my goal is to do my best to give you details of the pros and cons, and not just gratuitously bash the book.
Just be reminded that my reviews are just opinions, these critiques are personal taste not fact. I am such a mood reader so I can’t fault a book or an author when the less than stellar experience is on me. I want you guys to read the books and form your own thoughts on it! I love when a fellow reader has a different opinion than mine and we can debate on the strength and weaknesses we found and maybe make the other notice something they hadn’t before!
That’s it for me!
Go curl up with a book and relax!