The eternal good/bad review conundrum

I like to read books. Who here saw that coming?

*raises hand*

I try to only read books that I know I’m going to like, or heavily suspect that I might like. I don’t like giving books bad reviews–heck, I don’t like giving mediocre reviews. I prefer those glowing “OMG this book was rad” reviews that other readers totally ignore.

It’s why I’m usually hesitant read random books from people I know. I don’t want to hurt their feelings with a lousy review.

3 stars

When I do read a crummy book, I only review it on Goodreads. Goodreads is kind of like Facebook for books, and doesn’t affect sales ranks the way Amazon reviews do. And it’s been a while since I really ripped into a book, anyway. The lowest rating I’ve given in the last six months has been 3 stars. That’s a “It was okay” rating.

But that still leaves the sticky question–what to do about a peer’s book that I felt had issues, but it’s too late to fix them?

Refuse to leave a review at all? Notify the author that I had issues? Leave a dishonest review?

I have to keep reminding myself that reviews are for other readers, not the author. Any time I’ve left scorchingly honest reviews, those reviews get up-ranked by people on Amazon. Much to my chagrin.


What do you think? Only review when you love something, or be honest? And if honest, do you confine your honesty to Goodreads?

2 thoughts on “The eternal good/bad review conundrum

  1. I don’t generally review books I didn’t like, if only because I didn’t get all the way through it! And it feels in poor taste to leave a bad review while saying, “I didn’t finish reading this book…” It’s not a totally informed opinion, in that case. But in general I don’t like ruffling feathers, so I’m prone to only review things I can praise. I HAVE to be honest in my reviews. I usually try to bring out a con to balance all my pros, and I won’t give five stars unless I was absolutely riveted and LOVED it passionately. I rarely even leave a 3 star review, though. If I feel so “meh” about a book that I can’t even give it 4 stars, I probably won’t waste time writing a review for it.


  2. I think it is harder for you as you know some of these people personally.
    I know how much I like reading good, bad and otherwise reviews.
    I want to know if it is worth my time or if I can just pass on it.
    I think being honest is one thing but being nitpicky is another.
    That book about the man who was on Mars was a really great book. I loved it.
    I will never recommend it to anyone other than my family because of the language.
    I was really uncomfortable with that.
    So I think it is always good to be honest. Your reviews I have found to be very right on and good.


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