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A Reader of Fictions: Negative Reviews

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Monday, December 17, 2012

Negative Reviews

This topic has been discussed endlessly, and I do know that. However, I felt compelled by recent circumstance, which were not huge deals or particularly scandalous and which I will not relate, to write this post. Since it's my blog, I will. If no one reads it, that's fine, but I think saying these things will make me feel better, so I'm going to do it.

Up until now, my blog and my GR followings have been small enough that no one really cared what I said. I have not ever really been trolled (except for this one ridiculous time on Amazon), and authors and other reviewers have always been nice. Lately, my blog and my GR account have been enjoying a bit more attention, and I do love this, but that does mean that I'm under more scrutiny, because my opinion "matters more."

Where I used to write my reviews, publish them, and then continue going about my day without any worries, I now find myself nervous any time I have to post a review below 3.5 or so stars. For really low reviews, I've even found myself stalking author Twitter accounts to find out whether they're out there hating me. Yes, I know this is unhealthy, but I'd rather know about such things than be unaware.

Thus I really want to state for the record in a public forum some facts about myself as a reviewer.

Yes, I am a very critical reviewer, though I do know harsher critics than myself. My opinions for most books tend to be lower than the average, and, even in an otherwise glowing review, I might put out a rather large flaw. Some of my three star reviews do turn out to be rather ranty, even though I would have no problem recommending that book to someone I felt would enjoy it.

Basically, I'm trying to help people. I find that I have a much better relationship with books when I go into them with lowered expectations. For example, I suspect I would have enjoyed Veronica Roth's Divergent much more had it not been pitched to me by friend after friend as the best young adult dystopia, which, enjoyable though it certainly is for some readers, it's not by a long shot. If you go into a book expecting perfection, odds are that you will end up utterly disappointed, even if the book was very well done, as was the case for me with Diana Peterfreund's For Darkness Shows the Stars. If I could, I would go into every book a blank slate of expectations, with no idea of what the novel would be about or who the author was.

Conversely, when I embark upon a read for which I have very low expectations, I often find myself enjoying it much more than other readers, as was the case with Katherine Applegate & Michael Grant's Eve & Adam, which many of my friends hated because they expected to love the book as much as some other series by one or the other authors. From my point of view, low expectations leave room for me to be pleasantly surprised, whereas my high expectations are pretty much impossible to meet, which is why I try to avoid blurbs as much as possible and to keep my hopes low.

By presenting my findings regarding a novel's strengths and weaknesses, I hope to prepare those around me. In some cases, a book will only be enjoyable if you've prepared yourself mentally for what's to come. A prime example would be a book like Elsie Chapman's Dualed, which I personally really enjoyed and recommend to people, but which does not have stellar world building. I want people to know that ahead of time, so that they can prepare themselves for it, such that they will not spend the whole book ranting about that and miss all the good things inside.

There seems to be this cult of opinion on the internet right now, primarily by authors, that reviewers get off on ripping their books to shreds. While there are reviewers who love to do that, most of us really do not. Yes, I very occasionally indulge in a snarky review for fun, but, generally, I stick to the facts and endeavor to keep the tone casual but analytical.

If I could control the world, I would love every single book that I read. Each one would be a five star read and I would eat nothing but pizza and chocolate while never gaining a pound. I would also be possessed of bottomless money-filled pockets, so that I never had to do anything but read, watch kdrama, and tell my cat how adorable he is. Oh, and also make out with my really hot, nerdy boyfriend who was perfectly happy to be neglected in favor of books much of the time. Unfortunately, I do not live in this magical paradise, so I just cannot love all books.

Sometimes negative reviews are, admittedly, fun to write, but that does not mean that I EVER pick up a book hoping I will hate its contents. Of course, sometimes I expect that result, but I never HOPE for it, an important distinction.

The main goal of book blogging is linking people up with books to enjoy. Most book blog readers will gravitate towards bloggers who have relatively similar opinions to their own. Thus, a bad review I write for a book might, yes, dissuade some from reading your book, but they would likely have loathed it just as much. Even on my most negative reviews, some readers will comment about how they still want to read the book, and I love this. I actually just shipped one of my negative review books off to someone else, and I hope she has a better experience.

Never do I intend with a negative review to say that no one should ever read that book, but I might say that certain types of readers (namely those like me) might be better off reading something else. I trust my readers to gauge whether they might enjoy a book, taking my review into account but not going solely off of that.

Do I feel bad when I have to list all of the things I hated about an author's book? YES. Do I feel especially guilty when it's for a debut author's book? Sure do. Would I ever intentionally up my rating or tamp down my criticism to spare their feelings? No.

As an individual, I have always hated being lied to. On a basic level, I think we all think we feel this way, but, when the chips are down, some of us would prefer to live in ignorance. There's nothing wrong with that, but I was lied to and maligned behind my back a lot when I was younger, and it always hurts doubly hard when the truth comes out. As such, honesty has been my policy.

This does not mean that I will go out of my way to make someone feel bad, though. If I think an author might see my review, I try to avoid snarkiness, but my points will all be essentially the same. Reviewing debut author X's novel, I might calmly list all the things that did not sit right with me; Reviewing a similar novel by James Patterson, I might break out the GIFs and funny about the problems I had. James Patterson does not care what I think about his books, because he has all that money to keep him company. However, in both, I will be stating the same opinions and evaluations. All that really changes is how I say what I'm saying.

If I intentionally refrained from mentioning the issues on my mind as I read the book or upped my rating to make the author feel better, then my reviews would not be untrustworthy. Also, I think that would be a rude thing to do to an author, assuming that they're not mature enough to handle an honest evaluation of their work.

When I first started blogging, I never put ratings on my reviews. I figured people could read the review and make their own evaluation of my opinion. Later, I added them in for two reasons: 1) I do not usually read reviews for books I plan to read, but do like to check out ratings. 2) Sometimes my reviews come off rather negative when I really I liked the book, so now my 3 star rating can say "but I liked it guys!"

True, my ratings might trend lower than those of some other bloggers, but regular readers are smart enough to figure out that something I rate a four might be higher for them. As long as my scale is consistent within itself, people can gauge for themselves how those ratings might correlate to their own opinions. Everyone's rating scales differ a little bit, which is why my ratings on GR, Amazon and my blog all differ; they all convey the same opinion, but the sites all have different meanings attached to the ratings.

On my blog, three stars means "I liked it." This is quite broad and comes in a lot of different flavors, but should be understood to mean that on a basic level. My 2.5 lever rating generally indicates "meh" or a really uneven novel, where perhaps parts were amazing and others really bad. From my point of view, I do not think of any rating 2.5 or above as negative, though I know lots of others do.

By my own rating scale, even if you think of 2.5 as negative, I like much more than I don't. For your edification, here's the breakdown of my reviews over this past year by star rating:

.5: - 3
1: 5
1.5: 7
2: 20
2.5: 47
3: 65
3.5: 71
4: 82
4.5: 44
5: 15

While I would definitely change some of my ratings now (this happens since I write my reviews immediately upon finishing the book; hindsight alters some opinions), but is probably about right so far as numbers go, though the books would do some swapping of ratings.

Now you might be wondering why, if I'm so honest, I have so many HIGH ratings. Well, I like to think I'm getting much better than I used to be at picking books that I will enjoy, especially for older titles, since I can avoid books that might make me rage-y, because of the immensely helpful negative reviews of my friends. To that point, you should also know that I will not write off a book because of one person's negative opinion, because no one has precisely the same taste as I do. However, if the book gets negative reviews from three or four people on my friends list on GR, I am much more likely to move on, because the odds of me enjoying the book are greatly reduced, though I still will read through the reviews first to see if their issues would annoy me as well.

For those who are curious, my Goodreads average is a 3.13, obviously much lower, since their scale skews downwards. A lot of people put the same ratings on GR that they have on their blogs (roughly), but I like to rate according to the scale of the site I am using. Since GR defines 2 stars as "okay," everything 2 stars and below generally becomes 1 star, and 2.5 becomes 2 star. Sometimes 3 stars convert to 2 on GR as well.

To sum up, I am not a monster bitch out to destroy your writing career. I'm just a person with opinions who puts the ones about books on the internet, nor do I have any hatred towards any of the authors whose books I've read, even those who wrote the .5s. My intention is not to hurt anyone's feelings and, if my review did that, I'm sorry, though I do not take the opinions back. Please go have some booze or ice cream or booze-y shake, and know that I wish you success in all of your future writing endeavors.



Blogger Lilian said...

I know what you mean, but I feel not compunctions about a negative review. Partly because most of the books I review aren't review copies, so I don't feel like I owe it anyone to write a glowing review (although the situation differs when I'm reading a review book or part of a blog tour--I feel bad, but I do it anyway.)

"I've even found myself stalking author Twitter accounts to find out whether they're out there hating me."
I rather not know. And if it gets really bad, I figure SOMEONE will tell me about it, either on Twitter or a deluge of hate comments.
There was one instance when I tagged the author on Twitter when tweeting about the review (as I sometimes do if I remember.) I think it was a average, C rating. But then the author replied on Twitter...
I felt apologetic.

Another thing is that I don't think my opinion is THAT valuable that it would ruin anyone's career. I don't have a major book blog that everyone turns to.

I think I am a nitpicker and rate books lower than others as well. I think a book written myself wouldn't even get a D rating from myself.

I don't go with stars partly because Goodreads and Amazon do it differently: an Amazon three stars is (it's okay) while a Goodreads 3 Stars is (I like it.) And I like adding my pluses and minuses...

I know what you mean by having no expectations, which is TOO HARD. I follow too many book blogs. And I look up reviews on Goodreads and Amazon before taking on a book for review.

I also sometimes read books I suspect I won't like. Who knows? I might be pleasantly surprised.

I never want to dislike a book either. And rarely do I "dislike" a book, most fall in the "meh" category. On the other hand, I make fun of characters all the time. I only hope that if the author does read my review, they will still laugh despite a not-so-glowing rating.

For the record, I do trust your ratings, Christina (I would have ran away a looonnng time ago if that wasn't the case.) But I'm also aware that you have a lot more patience than I with long prose and you love history more than I, so I keep that in mind.

Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

December 17, 2012 at 3:08 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

True, there's less guilt in books that aren't review copies, mostly because the book's been out for a while, so the author's probably calmed down by that point. Being one of the first to write a negative review is scary!

I only do that if I was the first one to write a one star review. O_O Actually, I didn't do that until an author got mad and tweeted about me. Oh well. I just don't like to be sitting around thinking well of someone, who's being mean behind my back. I want to KNOW. I won't do anything with that info, but I'd rather be the wiser.

Well, I don't think my opinion is that valuable either, but still I figured all of this bore saying, so that if people ever accuse me of being a dick on purpose, I can be like NO, READ THIS.

True. You do have picky ratings, but I know this about you and evaluate accordingly. I also think you are more about world building than character.

Ha, I just use stars because it's standard. Amazon's ratings skew so far up. Pretty much everything is 4 or 5 stars. Makes sense that they do that though.

Me too. If you go in with eyes wide open, you might find more merit in a book other people hate. I know I love a few books that most people loathe. Go through your books by low community rating and see where you're weird. It's interesting.

Ha, yes, almost all of us want to love everything. It's just not possible!

December 17, 2012 at 8:26 AM  
Blogger Katie said...

I think what you said about the James Patterson thing is so true! I was much more snarky in my review of Vampire Academy than I am for debut authors because I know Richelle Mead is famous and has legions of fans and doesn't care what my opinion is. But I always try to be nicer on debut authors because they're new and don't have as much experience. Also I feel like they haven't had as much time getting used to negative reviews, so I try to lesson the blow some.

December 17, 2012 at 10:18 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Exactly. Richelle Mead and JP don't give a crap about our opinions. The money tells them everything they need to know. Debut authors don't have that thick money shield yet, so I try to say what I have to say in a nicer way, unless the book pisses me off to the insane degree that I can't, but that's SUPER rare.

December 17, 2012 at 10:23 AM  
Blogger Bekka said...

The one thing I'm sick and tired of is authors thinking reviews are for them. No. Reviews are for readers, so please get the fuck over it. I don't have to take into account anyone's feelings when I review a products, so I don't understand why this changes when I'm reviewing a book. A book is a product, not a fucking child.

As an aside: I trust your ratings and reviews absolutely. By reading your reviews I can usually gauge if I will like a book, even if you didn't like it.

December 17, 2012 at 11:31 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Thank goodness we don't review people's children. That would be awkward.

Except for a few rare instances. :-p

December 17, 2012 at 11:36 AM  
Blogger Lilian said...

I'm much more scared if it's for a blog tour, then I know the chances of the author reading my review is higher. *sigh* Which reminds me, I'm participating in a blog tour next month. And because I live in Hawaii, shipping is extra expensive from Canada, so the author gifted me an ecopy to review instead. And in the Amazon gift thingy, she thanked me in her message. But I didn't like he book too much. BUT SHE THANKED ME. *guilt guilt guilt* DON'T THANK ME, AUTHORS.

"I didn't do that until an author got mad and tweeted about me."
I rather not know, lest I get emo for the day. "oh no, someone hates me!"
So you would rather know..but not do anything. So you wouldn't reply to them?

Really? I never thought I was more about world building since I can love a book with little world-building. But on the other hand, I need stuff to make sense. Character...I can overlook if s/he isn't doing stupid, non-sensical things like stealing tampons. I also find that I tend to raise my ratings for a fast paced book. Usually.

Amazon's stars always seemed to make more logical sense to me. OF COURSE THREE STARS SHOULD BE "IT'S OKAY."!

There's always an awkward moment if I love a book a friend hates (they are usually too nice to tell me.) But they secretly probably think "Lilian has such poor taste!"

Maybe if we were more simple minded...

Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

December 17, 2012 at 1:31 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oh yeah, blog tours can be terrifying, or debuts. Oh dear. Do you have to back out of blog tours if you give it below a C? How does that work with a non-standard rating scale?

Yeah, that did happen once. I won't go into it though. No, I didn't reply directly. It was a thing. And it's done.

You do look a fast pace! That is super true. You get bored easily. I'm all about character. That's the primary thing for me. Followed by writing. Then maybe world building. I don't know. If other things are strong, I don't care about the pace.

I guess. Mine's sort of "I liked it/it's okay." Like I liked it but I'm not super enthusiastic. But it definitely isn't negative!

Hahaha, I do think that about certain books, but it's a short list where I judge people for liking them.

December 17, 2012 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger Lilian said...

"Do you have to back out of blog tours if you give it below a C?"
I've seen that rule on a few blog tour sites. I guess if the book blog doesn't do ratings, anything in the review that seems too negative should be avoided? I tend to avoid those blog tour sites. I'd hate to have to argue and be like "BUT my review isn't THAT negative!" Apparently if you end up not liking the book they will give you a promo post instead and you can post your review after the blog tour. But that strikes me as disingenuous. And I hate promo posts (especially for a book I dislike.) No way am I having that on my blog.

If an author did that to me, I'll just dismiss them as being angry.

"You get bored easily."
Well then, nice of you to tell me. hmph.
But yes, I do get bored awfully easily. Writing rarely affects me (nor do I notice it) unless it hinders some other aspect of the book. Or if it's glaringly obvious that it's a "telling, no showing" book.
I usually don't know what to say about writing. Maybe I need to take a creative writing class someday to find out what's "bad" writing.

December 17, 2012 at 2:34 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Hmm, I always assumed unless it was all negative you were home free without ratings. The ratings are what cause people to really jump into panic mode.

I also hate promo posts. O_O I'm VERY careful now about accepting blog tours for groups like that. This is why I love TLC. I've 2-starred SO MANY.

Actually, though I notice writing, I don't usually have much to say about it. Mostly, I just want to be like THUMBS UP FOR THE WRITING!

December 17, 2012 at 3:20 PM  
Blogger Kayla Beck said...

I really like your reviewing style, and I wouldn't have you change anything about it. Though we don't agree about a lot of books, I have a pretty good idea of what you like now and can use that to decide whether or not I should run like hell when I read your review. I've never seen you be anything but fair.

As for me, when I was hired on to where I'm working now, the first thing my boss told me was that I was no longer allowed to bash books. (Yes, I ripped James Patterson and Stephenie Meyer to pieces in the interview. I don't tell many people that because apparently librarians are supposed to hug and cuddle all books.) It took about a year for me to learn kindness. Then I was given the reins to the collection development here, and I've had to read stuff that wasn't my high fantasy novels that I've already read a dozen times. The real Kayla is nowhere near as nice as you are, review-wise. If an author ever gives you shit, have them send me their book and ask for my honest opinion. They'd send you roses afterward for having such a sweet review.

December 17, 2012 at 4:30 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Thanks, friend! *huggles*

Oh, yes, that's one of those no-nos as a librarian. You need to be selling reading, even of dreck. Of course, if you find people with your taste, you might snicker behind your hands, but you have to happily pass out the copies of Fifty Shades of Grey without any open mocking.

Bahahaha, you're so funny. :)

December 17, 2012 at 4:49 PM  
Blogger Wendy Darling said...

Christina, you are one of the friends whose opinions of books matters most to me. I can always rely upon you to be both honest and fair, and I have NEVER felt as though you've been overly harsh in your reviews, even when something really annoys you or you're making an offhand joke. I think we have very similar philosophies about reviewing, actually, as evidenced by this very thoughtful list.

I know something had happened, and I'm sorry for it. You know I'm here if you need anything, but the fact that you've responded with such grace and positive energy is a testament to how professionally you conduct yourself. It's a shame that some of the people who are PAID to be in in this industry, unlike the majority of the bazillions of book bloggers out there, still can't act like professionals themselves.

I feel very conflicted about the whole reviewing thing now, actually. As you said, with a bigger audience comes more scrutiny, which is fine--except that more meltdowns come with it, no matter how hard you try. I really miss being able to share book discussions with friends honestly and openly without having to second guess everything that I say. I like being able to chat with authors so openly, but unfortunately, sometimes their increased online presence contributes to stifling the conversation as well.

December 17, 2012 at 6:02 PM  
Blogger Lilian said...

I am so guiltl of looking only scrolling for the ratings and reading the concluding paragraphs. *innocent whistle* I think this also has something to do with me trying to go into books as open-minded as possible. I often don't even read blurbs.

Yes. Promo posts are disgusting, filler posts I want to avoid as much as possible. I think I have two on my blog...which was because I was bribed by a giveaway a long time ago. *guilt guilt* I am grateful of TLC for letting me write whatever I want. I think it's also because they deal with major publishers and established authors that I figure have more things on their mind than my review.

I normally notice if the prose is unusually long. Must be the "gets bored easily" thing.

December 17, 2012 at 6:18 PM  
Blogger Misty said...

I see no need to apologize for opinions on art. Ever. Your opinion may CHANGE, and it is fine to say so if it does; your opinion may have been a little more harshly worded than intended, or just not clear, and it's fine to apologize for THAT. But to apologize for something you honestly feel - not about a person, culture, belief system, race; in short, anything that strikes at the core of a person and has real power to damage - but about a THING, is something no one should expect of another person. So not only should you never have to apologize for an opinion, but

The end.


December 17, 2012 at 9:14 PM  
Blogger Renae @ Respiring Thoughts said...

Little story time (slightly irrelevant): Once upon a time, I was a newbie blogger. I wrote up a review in which I compared the author's prose to a melodramatic school girl's. Said author got super butthurt, bashed me on his Facebook page, and sent rude fans after me. As a newbie blogger, I was shocked. (It was a 2 star review, and since you know me, you know 2 stars doesn't mean anything. I RECOMMEND 2 star books ALL the time.) And then I was furious, because seriously, WTF?

Right about then, I spent about a month terrified to write another less than 4 star review. I felt like there was a "correct" opinion and that, as once commenter said, I was obviously too stupid to see the value in the aforementioned book. Yeeesh.

Welcome to the blogging community, right?

Really, people (both authors and other readers) need to chill out. Like you said, Christina, most reviewers don't enjoy writing negative reviews. And I know that I definitely don't enjoy reading bad books. Wouldn't we all like to go to Booktopia where all the books are fabulous? Yes, we all would. Again, like you said, negative reviews are just bloggers sharing their opinions. I don't think I've ever said "DON'T READ THIS BOOK" explicitly except in clearcut cases where a book IS awful. And even then, I usually do add the "this is just my opinion" caveat.

And we ARE entitled to our opinions. Anyone who, like that infamous commenter, says that a reviewer has to have the "correct" opinion in order to write a book review is delusional. Are we not consumers? Have I not just paid 10$ for your product? Yes. I have.


It's terrible how ugly people get when their work isn't loved and approved of by everyone. I'm sorry you felt that it was necessary to write this post, Christina, but I'm glad you did all the same. Maybe if enough people talk about this, authors (and fans) will get a grip.

Excellent fantabulous post!

December 17, 2012 at 9:28 PM  
Blogger Christina Reads YA said...

You're always thoughtful, even in your negative reviews. It's hypocritical of me to say that as a reassuring comment, though, because I understand these feelings. That twitter part? Me too.


I've been thinking about this topic for weeks--since I posted a negative review (that's one of the first of its kind), actually. And I'm glad you've addressed it. I'm glad you've put it out there. I'm probably going to link to this post in the future.

Thank you. Thank you for having the courage to post this and the ability to say all this in a thoughtful manner.

P.S. - I'm also glad that your blog has been getting more attention... because without that, I don't know if I would've found it :P, and I love reading your posts!

December 17, 2012 at 10:01 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oh yes, that's precisely what I do when a reviewer I trust reviews something I plan to read. I'll read the opening paragraph and the concluding paragraph, since those tend to sum up the reader's opinion, and then check the rating.

I have a couple because of blog tours gone bad, but whatever. I don't care THAT much, because they're overwhelmed by my massive amounts of other content.

Yup. You're bored before the sentence even...oh look, a bird!

December 18, 2012 at 8:07 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Awww, thank you so much, Wendy. That means more than you know. I, of course, rely heavily on your opinion as well, even though we do not always agree. I know that I probably won't hate something you love at any rate. Sometimes I have been, I guess, but, mostly, that's just how I felt, which I think is honest. I try to be more mindful of my phrasing now, but sometimes the truth hurts.

What happened wasn't a major drama by any means, but I hate that there are people in the world hating me for illegitimate reasons. Hate me for the right ones! There are plenty of those.

You went through the epitome of book blogger drama, and I remain utterly saddened that such a thing happened to you. Because of that, the world misses out on a lot of Wendy Darling reviews. That is a sad thing, and the industry should not be chasing the best reviewers away.

December 18, 2012 at 8:11 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oh, I don't feel the need to apologize for my opinion precisely. I AM sorry that I can't love everything I read, but it's not possible. I AM also sorry that some of them might have made an author cry, but I do stand by those opinions.

I appreciate the support, Misty!

December 18, 2012 at 8:13 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oh goodness, Renae! That's just awful. Thankfully, I remained off people's radar for about a year and half, because I didn't know anything about social networking. That has definitely slowed my blog's growth, but I'm coming to realize it was probably a good thing, giving me the time to get used to the process before adding any drama.

Did you continue writing the lower reviews anyway or just not post them for a while? And I know there are books you've given 2 deep breaths to that I liked. You're particular, and I suspect your scale skews a bit lower than mine does.

Exactly! I have probably said things like "if you read for X, this probably will not please you," but even that still leaves the door open for people who don't care about X, you know. At least once, I think I've concluded with "I'm not sure WHO the ideal audience for this book is, but it's definitely not me."

Plus, there's not one 'right' opinion of art. There are some incorrect opinions, I suppose, like if you criticize a book for being about aliens and it wasn't, but, really, you mostly can't go wrong.

That's what I hope, though I do believe it's optimistic. I wish authors could see that they're only hurting themselves by freaking out over a negative review. They need to be more confident about their own work, which, believe me, I know is hard to do, but their spaz attacks evince their own skepticism about the quality of their work. John Green's been lambasted probably since he started by a subset of reviewers, but you don't see him freaking out. His chill attitude is probably why he's so popular. By yelling at the reviewer, you certainly will not change their mind, and you will get yourself blacklisted by a lot of readers, and read with a jaundiced eye by more. Leave it alone, and people with similar opinions will avoid it, giving you less negative reviews, and everyone else will forget. By attacking, you merely obtain additional views for said review.

December 18, 2012 at 8:21 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Awww, thank you. I hate the Twitter thing. I feel like I should trust authors more than that.

Oh, I think I know which review you're talking about. I liked that one a lot! I think it was quite well done.

Ha, I'm glad too, though it can be intimidating at times. :)

December 18, 2012 at 8:25 AM  
Blogger Steph Sinclair said...

Excellent post. I always find your negative reviews very balanced and fair, Christina. I'm glad you made the point of saying that even though you may expect a book to not be amazing that you aren't hoping you hate it. I never go into a book hoping I hate it and really, who has time to do that? I have a ton of books to read!

Snarky reviews can be fun to write, but I can honestly say there have been some that I've wrote, but never meant for it to come out snarky. This year, as a blogger, I've learned how to word things better. I also try not to be AS snarky for review copies, but well, sometimes I just can't help it. Any way, again, great post! MORE PLEASE!

December 18, 2012 at 5:45 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Ha, yes, even when I'm 99% certain I'll hate something, I really am HOPING the 1% will come through and I will fall in love against all reason. Basically, I'm an overly optimistic YA heroine sometimes. O_O

They definitely can be, and it's good for me to be more mindful of word choice. However, snark is a sliding scale. I may not have been intentionally snarky, but some people have a really wide definition for what snark is, and at that point, well, I don't even care.


December 18, 2012 at 5:51 PM  
Blogger Kara_Malinczak said...

I wish I knew what had happened. Not because I am nosy (even though I am), but because I wanted to support you privately. That being said, I know sometimes there are things we just don't want to talk about, and I completely understand. But if you ever need to vent, know that you can come to me and I will keep it between us.

I know you had to write this post for your own piece of mind, but you should never have to apologize for the way you feel about a book. I'm not saying this post is an apology exactly, but we feel how we feel, ya know? Can't change that. And maybe I am one of the few book bloggers that actually ENJOYS writing negative reviews. I would much rather LIKE a book, but when I don't, I have fun with it. Bottom line is, it's my blog and I try to make it fun for me. I also try to be respectful if I can, but there is no rule that if you are an author you have to read your critical reviews. Book reviews are a review of a product, not a baby because that is not what books are. Authors need to learn to let go once their book is published. And I am never going to feel guilty for not liking something. I paid for it or received it in exchange for an honest review. And that's exactly what I'm giving.

I know you feel much the same way that I do, you are just nicer about it. I love your reviews because they are always honest and written extremely well. Whatever happened to make you feel like shit that day, that person needs to buck up and get over themselves. Easier said than done, I know, but really. If they are that upset over one bad review, they probably need to re-evaluate their lives and line of work. Admittedly I am not sure if this is what went down, I am just assuming. Which I do a lot. Heh. <3

December 19, 2012 at 7:27 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Ha, you totally are nosy, but I know you mean well. It's just that what happened is seriously minor, not the sort of thing that would make scandal sheets. However, it had never happened to me before, and I found the whole thing upsetting. I didn't want to make this post about some specific incident. I only wanted to explain why I took the time to write this monster of a post.

Kara, that is exactly how I feel about things. Some negative reviews are really fun for me to write. Maybe they all used to be, I don't know. But, increasingly, they're really not for debut authors or lesser-known authors, because I fear the repercussions. And sometimes there just isn't much to say besides: THIS IS BAD. It's more that I wanted to put this post out here because it's how I feel about things, and if someone trolls me, I might just link them to this post, and be done with them. I've also linked to this in my review policy. The main point is: I want to love your book, but, if I don't, I will say what needs to be said, with or without snark, depending on what I feel to be appropriate.

I'll let you know.

December 19, 2012 at 8:36 AM  
Blogger Brandy said...

Preach it girl!

I have suddenly seen a surge in viewership recently myself and as a result I almost didn't write a negative review on a book that I recently had issues with for that reason. (Oh no. More people are reading my blog. What if the author sees it and flips out on me???) I would take it too personally. Then I realized I needed to do what I had always done and write it, for much the same reasons you list here. So thanks for backing up my own thoughts without even knowing it. :)

Also, I love your reviewing style. I think you are very balanced and fair, but also honest. Honesty is important.

December 19, 2012 at 7:45 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Congrats on getting more viewership recently too! That's very exciting. I'm glad I was able to help convince you that it's better to be honest than to avoid confrontation. Certainly don't seek it out, but you've got to be you!

Thank you!

December 20, 2012 at 10:49 AM  
Blogger fakesteph said...

I think this is a really well written post. Sometimes it's good to go on the record... although, reading your blog, I had picked up most of those already. :)

December 21, 2012 at 3:45 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Well, this was intended more for people unfamiliar with me, but I'm glad that was all obvious!

December 27, 2012 at 8:22 AM  

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