Book Review · Mystery, Thriller · Uncategorized

To Review or Not?

So far on this blog I have not left what I would call a really bad review and one of the main reasons for this is that any book I haven’t connected with or any that I have not been getting any enjoyment out of I have simply stopped reading. Now I will admit it has taken me a long time to get to this point, there has been many times in the past where I have just though hey it’s really not that bad, I can just power through, I mean I got this far what have I got to lose? The answer it has been pointed out to me is time. Time I could use more productively, time I could be reading something that I will actually enjoy, but mainly time that will be wasted if I simply ‘powered through’ because let’s be honest it takes a very special book to really claw you back in once your past the first twenty percent.

This new found ability does seem to be working, sure there is still a slight dash of fear of missing out and sometimes a dollop of guilt as I know the time, effort and frustration that someone has poured into this novel, to get their idea out into the world and I’m just discarding it to move onto other things. But on the other hand I am enjoying reading a lot more, I know more of what I will and will not enjoy before I pick up a book and most of all I don’t end up resenting something that someone has worked really hard to bring into this world. I simply put it down and move on.

The dilemma that I am having though is do I write a review for the book? If it’s one I have reviewed on NetGalley I will pass on my feelings to the publishers definitely, I do want to be honest and perhaps I’m not the only one but should I write a review effectively promoting a book that I did not finish. But should I write a review for my Blog? All publicity should be good publicity right? But can I really review a book that I don’t even know how the story ended, all I know for certain is that it isn’t for me, what if it is one of those books that turns it around? More questions arise when I see a book I have given up on getting rave reviews from other bloggers, surely I must be missing something then? I guess it’s worth noting I am not talking about those books that really are generally bad the ones with lack of spelling, grammar and generally unreadable, or those where there is no other way to interpret them but offensive, I am talking about the ones where they simply wasn’t for you, no connection to characters or story, no desire to find out what happens next just nothing at all really…

I would love to know other bloggers policies on this, how do you review these books if you review them at all?

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55 thoughts on “To Review or Not?

  1. I’ve been doing the same if I start reading a book and there’s no connection for me, or I just can’t seem to get into it I leave a message for publisher on netgalley and don’t review. I know that might sound bad but everyone is different, if I love a book I know there are people that feel the same but also other people that don’t like it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I am leaning towards just leaving notes for the publisher, though it’s interesting to hear different opinions on certain books I honestly think I would just not have anything to review, certainly not anything interesting

      Like

    2. If I don’t like a book after the first couple chapters, I don’t finish or review either. I will probably send comments to the author or publisher – whoever contacted me to read – but as an author myself, I’m not looking for reviews from people who aren’t my “tribe” or don’t relate to my genre.
      Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets and The Chakra Energy Diet
      http://www.BeccaChopra.com

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think all book bloggers will identify with this problem. I can never stop reading a book even if it is bad if I have got a review copy. Generally I read it for the sake of completing my review. I have seen blogs were bloggers provide partial reviews of books till the point where they have read. Like you said, any publicity is god publicity

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha It has taken me literally years to be able to put down a book once I have started though if it is a book sent to me directly to the author I will admit I feel a lot more of an obligation to complete it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. If I finish it I review it even if it was not a good book or I didn’t enjoy it. If I don’t finish it I leave a note for the publishers only (if I got it via NetGalley). I try t be clear why I didn’t enjoy a book or why I thought it was bad so that others can make up their own mind. Life is too short to read books that you don’t engage with so I don’t often finish a book that I don’t ejoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If I can’t give a positive review I won’t review on my blog, but still review on Goodreads. If I can’t finish a book and it has come from netgalley or a publisher then I let them know. I aim to keep my blog a happy place.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I try to vet my books carefully before reviewing so that I have a good chance of liking them. I normally find that works pretty well for books I get from NetGalley. If people ask me for a review and I’m not sure about the book, I might say something like “if I like it, I’ll review it.” As an author myself I certainly don’t want to be on record as trashing other people’s books, and even a really bad book is the product of months of labor and love. However, it is certainly true that some books are better than others! If a book just wasn’t for me but I’ve agreed to review it, I might say something like this isn’t normally my genre, but fans of x might enjoy it, and point out some positives about the book.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. True, I think knowing that someone has spent so long on something I don’t particularly want to be the person that goes around trashing it, but then again it may advertise it to someone that will absolutely adore it, I like the idea of pointing out the positives and recommending to certain fans though.

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  6. Actually, if I don’t like a book I will go to netgalley and explain to the publisher, but I still would do a “mini review” saying why I could not get into said book and asking opinions from others that have read. It may make for interesting discussion, and I may just find a reason to try again.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi. Good topic and I appreciate reading your opinion. If I request the book or receive it for a purpose of doing a review, I feel it’s important to read the whole thing and write a review. What I try to do on books I am not fond of is follow my normal format, but also highlight the reasons why it may not have been a fit for me… I won’t sugarcoat the negative feedback, but I’ll over something that may give the person looking at my review a way to decide if it would or wouldn’t also work for them.

    As a writer, I want to see the negative feedback, but in a fair and constructive tone. If someone is just going to complain about it, that’s not useful or fair, I think. I’d rather see something that says the plot was weak and here are 3 reasons why, or the language was so verbose, you got lost and here’s an example.

    As for wasting my time, that’s why I make the delineation of if I receive “to review it,” I follow thru. If I chose the book on my own, and it’s not good, then I may just send it to the publisher where possible. But if I’m balancing the good and the bad, I think you can still post that review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks James, it’s great to hear an opinion of a writer 🙂 so far any book that I have have had directly from an author I have followed through on, so I guess it does matter the median of which the book comes through,.

      If I do go through to include them I agree fair and constructive is the only way to go, personally I won’t read a review if it’s only complaining, but I wasn’t sure how interested people would be in reading a sort of half review, though I’m liking some of the ideas coming through on how others go about it

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great blog today. I can relate to this. If I have a book that I absolutely can’t connect with or enjoy, I try to write my review with some of my constructive feelings, not all my negative feelings and I try to point out all the positive in the book. I always sign off the review with “This book was not for me, but it may be of interest to you if you like this genre.” I always try to incourage others who like that type book to try it, evne if I did not like it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! That’s the thing I guess just cos a book is not for me, doesn’t mean others won’t enjoy it, I don’t think there is a book out there which has only ever got positive reviews haha it’s good to see how others go about it

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Good post! I used to not give negative reviews at all, but sometimes, I find them helpful (if it’s constructive). Especially if the reviewer has similar reading tastes as me. It helps me decide if I should put it on the back burner or read it next.

    As far as not finishing a book, I won’t post it on my blog or anything. Usually, I’ll put it on Goodreads but with no rating then I’ll tag it with the DNF bookshelf. I always add a little explanation as to why it didn’t work for me. There have been some instances where I have skimmed the middle of a book because I wasn’t connecting, but I was interested in the plot enough to keep reading. I’ll always mention that in my review if that’s the case. Total disclosure, and all that. But not connecting with a character is so subjective so I think many can just disregard that.

    Such a good topic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks 🙂 It’s interesting to see everyone’s opinion as I guess it’s something that has happened to all readers at one point or another, not gonna lie there have been a few books which I have carried solely for the purpose of finding out what happened and I have mentioned it in the review. I think it’s important to mention somewhere at least so the author and publishers can get a comprehensive overview. Characters are definitely incredibly subjective haha

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Anyone who reads will understand! There are so many books out there and you’re not going to love every one of them. As a person who loves reading reviews, I would like to know if you stopped reading a book and why it didn’t work for you. There’s no shame in not liking something and it make help other readers know they aren’t alone in their thoughts. Life is too short to push through a book you don’t enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I finish all books, even if I hate them. I’ve learned to skim so it isn’t too time intrusive. For me, not liking a book is a good exercise one examining why I don’t like it. I’ve found that not reading it through usually only gives me a glance at why, whereas when I’m done, I can usually state my reasons for not liking it clearly. If a publisher lusher expects a review, I will write them telling them my thoughts. Bad reviews are helpful in my opinion. Often, I read bad reviews for books I’m in the fence for looking for why people didn’t like it. Sometimes I agree and sometimes I don’t, but it gives me a better idea of what the book is actually about than all rave reviews. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes books deserve all rave reviews, but most of the time a book won’t hit the mark for some people and I find it helpful to know why. I also think honesty is the best policy when it comes to reviewing. My integrity as a reviewer is important to me. I won’t say I loved something if I didn’t. I can’t. If someone buys a book I hated but I pushed out of fear of not working with a publisher again, what good is my blog and my reviews? I know we’ve come across those accounts and even if they get all the books, why get them if you don’t really love them? Sorry for the long reply!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha no worries it’s great seeing how everyone else views reviews, I completely agree though a review should be honest and no book can really expect to get all rave reviews, nor I think should a reviewer have all rave reviews on their blog, I guess the main thing I’m getting is knowing why it didn’t hit the mark for you and being able to constructively explain that

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve had two books that I’ve never finished. They were before I started my blog so I didn’t worry about reviews back then but now I have a policy for it. If it’s one I asked to review or was sent to review then I will finish it (it may take a bit longer to finish) and write my review. In that review, I will be honest and not sugar coat it. I will explain why it wasn’t for me and include something positive if possible. I try not to include spoilers but it is my policy to include if there is anything that is a sensitive matter that is graphic and/or a big part of the story that affected my review. I will not bash a book or author because what I don’t like someone else will.

    Authors what honest reviews good or bad because they want to know the things that turn us off a book. They want to know why we didn’t like it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that’s what I need to do decide on my policy and go from there, everyone’s comments have been a great way for me to decide though.

      I think your right though authors want honesty and there is not one book fits all

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In all of the book groups I’m in they all say that they want them good or bad and love them to be clear on what they didn’t like it.

        Whatever you decide just include it in you review policy so authors know in advance because there are some out there that only want good ones posted, but they are rare. The only time I change is if I’m apart of a tour that ask that 3 stars or lower reviews not be posted right away.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I honestly think that not being able to finish a book is a valid review. The fact that you stopped reading says a lot about how you felt about the book, if you can explain why you decided to stop I think that’s a perfectly sensible thing to blog about. As long as you’re constructive in your negative reviews and try to explain why you didn’t like the book, then definitely share on your blog! I’ve written a few ‘bad’ reviews and I don’t feel bad about that (Just never ever tag the author in a negative review – that would be mean).

    Liked by 1 person

  14. For me I will write a review on the book whether I finished or not. If I choose to not finish which very very rare I will state that in my review and tell why I didn’t finish. If there is only one other person in the world that agrees with my thoughts and that review saves them the time of picking that one up then at least I helped them out. Let’s face it books can be expensive so I’m sure some people appreciate hearing different views on any they think of purchasing whether they would agree with the positive or negative that is then up to them to decide.

    Oh and as far as publishers and authors are concerned…. I believe the saying goes any publicity is good publicity so I think the vast majority want to hear the feedback. And who knows, maybe someone saying hey I didn’t like this for such and such reason will actually get some people curious to buy that may have passed it by just wanting to see if they would agree.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Since I have been blogging my reviews I will admit that I have not read many ‘really bad’ books. I always read the blurb and some reviews before I get it. However, saying that, some have sounded good but turned out disappointing either because the story line didn’t live up to expectations or because it the editing was terrible. With such books I have been honest and explained what it was that let the book down but I have also tried to find some positives about it as well. My personal view is that if I am going to write a review I always read a book to the end even if it is hard going or completely rubbish, it’s only fair.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Great post! I always finish the books I receive for review even though I am not enjoying them and pushing myself to finish it. Before I didn’t have a review policy page on my blog but I decided to put it there after a book I received for a review and pushed myself really hard to finish it. I clearly state that I reserve the right to not to post a review if I don’t feel comfortable posting the review on my blog; I usually post it to Goodreads and Amazon since they mostly ask for it. As for the Netgalley I usually go for the authors I read before. If it is a new author, before I request I checked the synopsis and reviews if there is anything online and then request the book. I never mention typos, formatting issues or grammar mistakes on my reviews. My reviews are mostly based on the story and characters. If I am writing a negative review, I try to do my best to point out why I didn’t work for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks! I do like the idea of reserving the right not to publish a review, I think for me if I will mention typos and grammar mistakes they will have to be significant as some perhaps are not the final copy

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Such interesting question.
    I’m a slow reader, and therefore only write the occasional review. Good writing styles impress me, though there’s more I’m looking for. Reading for me is a treasure hunt. I seek resonance, emotionally and psychologically, which is of course the subjective experience of entering another world.
    My problem is writing reviews for writer friends I meet online, where I can grok the treasure, but want to shout, please get an editor, or a good beta reader, if only once, to iron out the habits of repetitions or awkward sentence structure. Value your craft. With so much devotion and time going into a novel, it’s a MUST for self-published authors. To elevate the positive must be an art I’m trying to master.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Appreciate all the thoughts of colleagues above. Most, but not all, of the books I review I get from Net Galley. At first, I just grabbed at anything that seemed interesting; but now I try to be a lot more selective about my choices. Only a couple of times I have found myself committed to NetGalley and find that the book is not at all for me. I recall one that I could admire as a piece of writing, but it was just too graphic for me to endure, even to fulfill my responsibility. On that occasion, I did just stop reading the book and wrote my reasons on NetGalley for the publisher to read–but I felt really guilty about it. The other thing that happens is that I find myself with too many books to read by a deadline date. So sometimes I do resort to speed-reading as best I can, at least enough to leave an honest comment. But thanks for a great thought-provoking article.
    I do find a different problem sometimes. That is when I find a truly amazing book, with overt-the-top great writing. Then I start feeling inadequate to meet the challenge of excellent writing that I’m supposed to comment on. How many ways can you say wow! truly amazing! and not just end up sounding lame?
    But again, great to read all these comments. It brings a satisfying sense of community.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am starting to get a bit more selective with NetGalley as well, and there are a few books I have skim read to really finish the book, though sometimes that’s more because I want to find out what happens then finish the book haha.

      True I had never considered how much harder it can be sometimes to write a review for a book you truly adore, it’s true there are only so many ways you can say ‘amazing’.

      Like

  19. I will generally review anything that’s worth 3 stars or above (out of 5). If something really doesn’t click for me or I flat out hate it, I usually get in touch with the PR contact who sent it and tell them I’d rather do no review than a bad review. They’re normally pretty understanding about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I don’t blog to provide publicity for anybody. Sure, I like to promote Australian literature but I’m not an unpaid worker in a marketing machine, and I don’t feel I owe anyone a review even though publishers send me books all the time. (Not Net Galley, I like real books). After all, it takes many hours to read a book and to write a review and if they were going to pay me for my time it would be worth a lot more than the price of a book!
    I blog to have conversations with other people who like reading. If I don’t like a book, I don’t hesitate to say so in a review because my loyalty is to the reader who is handing over good money to buy the book. They deserve an honest opinion from an independent reviewer. I think that’s why people trust my reviews…

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I do my best to try and carefully choose books that I believe that I’ll enjoy, but occasionally the anomaly will slip in and I slog thru. I do my best to get at least to 80% before tossing in the towel. But you are correct in saying that once you’ve gotten past 20% the chance of you changing your mind about the book is fairly slim. I have wondered if maybe my timing on picking up a certain book is just bad. For example, let’s say I’ve just finished reading an amazing book and then I pick up the next and I’m not connecting with the characters, or enjoying the story. I have to wonder if maybe I had read this book first if my opinion of it would have been different. I’m currently reading a book that I thought for sure I’d enjoy, but it’s just not happening. It feels forced at times, the point of view changes between 5 different characters, and one of the characters is the whiny sort. I’ve read other people’s reviews, and they love the book. So I have to wonder what I’m missing. Of course the last 2 books I’ve read were just spectacular, so it leaves me to wonder if maybe my timing on reading this one is just bad. Maybe if I had read this one before the others, I’d have enjoyed it more. I enjoyed reading your post and the comments of others. I do try to find something positive to say about the book in my review and note that while maybe it wasn’t a favorite of mine, that others may enjoy the story.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I don’t leave bad reviews. I’m a writer, and I know how hard people work on these things, and I also don’t want to be accused of trying to cut down my competition. (Silly thought, but apparently it has some traction.) Apart from that, though, if I don’t like the book, I don’t finish it. So it wouldn’t be fair to leave a review in that case anyway. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I have a backlog of review books, so I completely understand the time issue. Technically, you don’t have to review anything that you don’t want to. I have started doing First Impression reviews for the books I’ve received for reviews but dnf. That way you know it’s not a book I finished but I’m still giving the publisher feedback.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Before I started a blog, and was just reviewing on Goodreads, I reviewed everything, good or bad. If I received the book in exchange for an honest review, I powered through and then wrote an detailed review of why the book was not good. But now that I have a blog, I am more hesitant to write said bad review. I won’t write a good review instead, but I find myself considering just skipping that book on the blog. After all, I still have a Goodreads account where I will review it. But I’m still not sure. It’s a hard place to be!

    P.S. the bunny picture is incredibly adorable!! She reminds me of my lop bunny!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely takes some considerations, at the moment I’m still dubious putting up my 1 or 2 star books on my blog but I have posted them elsewhere, I think as long as your honest that’s the most important thing.

      Haha thanks it’s one out of three of mine!

      Like

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