Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Breakfast with the Bookie - Reviewers: Do You Write Bad Reviews?

Breakfast with the Bookie is a “regular feature here at Badass Bookie taking place every Wednesday ( except for last week when Wednesday clashed with Debut of the Month!) . It’s a discussion that you can read along with your morning cup of coffee! Bloggers Unite!
This Week's Topic - Reviewers: Do You Write Bad Review?

Simple question right? When you read a book do you write honest reviews? If you hate a book would you write that you hate it? Or would you force down the distaste and write that you loved  it anyway? Would you worry about offending authors and publishers? Honestly, how honest are you with your reviews?

Me? I think I'm pretty honest. I review for Australian publishers and while I like to write good reviews for their books, I would prefer to state my honest opinions about the novel. When a publisher asks you to review for them, they want your honest opinion, people have different tastes and different preferences and they understand. A novel can't be good enough to make everyone happy ( unless it's Harry Potter, everyone loves Harry he's totally awesome).

How do I avoid writing Negative Reviews?

1) Request books that I would actually ( very likely) enjoy - I'm careful with what I request from publishers, I read reviews, the blurb, take note of other work by the author and then decide whether it's the book for me. I would much rather request a book I know I will enjoy than one that's getting lots of hype but is something I would never really pick up.

2) Awfully Bad Book? No Review! - It's sorta cheating but I don't have to review every book I read, no requirement there either. I most definitely review every book I request from publishers but unsolicited copies and my own copies go by a different stories. Publishers are actually great judges on what I  like to read and what I don't. I barely ever get an unsolicited that doesn't appeal to me. However if I really hated a book ( only one book that comes to mind and it has been reviewed on the blog) usually I just don't review it. That way I don't have to feel and about giving it a negative review and people can decide for themselves whether they want to read it without me swaying them either way.

3)  Talk about the good things and less about the bad things - I sometimes make a pros and cons list before I review (mentally). If you ever read one of my awfully long reviews you'll see that I talk mainly about plot, characterisation, writing and romance. If I read a book with a great plot but poor romance, I'll talk more about the plot then. That way I can compromise, I don't have to write an really awful review but it's not lying either!

How do you deal with awful reviews? More importantly, how do you write the reviews?

Badass Bookie xx


  1. I try to point out the good and the bad and make it fair, I will focus more on the bad or the good depending on if I enjoyed it, but I'm completely honest, even if I loved a book, I still point out the tiny flaws.

  2. I enjoy reading honest reviews that are negative. I find the blogger to be more genuine and I respect them if they are able to explain what didn't work in a respectful manner. I have seen a small number of reviews that I felt were hardcore, even a touch disrespectful.

    Sometimes if I realise I think it is terrible but can see others enjoying it, I will say this if I think it.

  3. Since i like to read honest reviews i try to write them too. If i don't like it, i don't like it. :) I try to explain what bothered me but also point out the good parts of the book. If i think that the book doesn't have any good parts i stop reading and don't write a review.

  4. I have aften learned much more about a book from negative reviews (that are well written) sometimes glowing reviews just don't say a lot about whether I will enjoy it or not.
    I find some of my favorite books through negative reviews.
    I write negative reviews because I think people appreciate the honesty. I would rather write positive ones and most of mine are but we can't love everything.

  5. I'm pretty honest with my reviews. If I don't like it I don't lie and say how great the book is. But, I still try to be respectful of the author and publisher. I don't completly bash the book or say there is nothing good about it. I try to throw in a few good aspects.

    But, thankfully, I hardly ever get a book that I completly hate. If I really don't like a book, I don't finish it.

  6. I'm honest with mine. If I didn't like a book, I'll say I didn't like the book, and why. I only read books I think I'll like to avoid having to write them (and because, who wants to read a bad book?) though. But I do feel like not having ALL good reviews makes you more credible. I don't put such stock in the thoughts of reviewers who've never wrote a bad thing about a book before.

  7. I appreciate honest negative reviews more than positive reviews so I do post negative reviews. I say that in my review policy as well. Though, like you, I try not to accept a book request I really have no interest in.

  8. I try for a balanced review and will write what did and didn't work for me but I still try to be diplomatic, no matter the source. I do try to do as you though, concentrate on the strengths of the novel and mention, but not emphasise, the weaknesses.
    Just this week for the first time ever, I had to contact an author I was reviewing a book for and let them know I wasn't going to publish my review on my blog, because the negatives outweighed every other consideration. While I chose not to review it on my blog, I did briefly rate and comment on it at Goodreads. A compromise of sorts I guess.

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out