Digital Reads Reviews

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I have been criticized by bloggers, friends for putting up a negative review of a book or using strong words to dislike a book. I have been thinking for so many months as to what is wrong with that?!!

When I can gush about a book and recommend it and give it the highest rating, then why can’t I criticize a book?!!

I am often told that the author has put in hard work and effort in that book and it would hurt them. I understand hard work. People who know me, know that I am always working, I hardly sleep. It is my hard earned money which I have earned after working very hard to invest in another person’s hard work. Why should I not get my money’s worth?!! Books are expensive for me.

I get pulled up by my bosses, they don’t then see my hard work, they see my result. And when the result is not up to the mark, according to them, I do get to hear the criticisms. So why should it be different for authors?

I have been rejected by the authors and publishers because I talk straight. Somehow when I praise a book, they don’t praise me. But when I criticize a book, they do feel I am not a good book reviewer. Double standards much!!

I work hard on all my reviews both positive and negative ones. And they are my views written on my blog. I would love it if all books are fabulous and worth 5 stars, and it hurts me too when I write a negative review. But I am unable to like all books. We are all different and so are our likes and dislikes!!

Reading a book is my individual journey into its pages, it is not a collective journey.

I am through with feeling sad or guilty at the way I put forth my points. They are my words, and I stand by them!!

210 Responses

  1. Absolutely Shalini. There is little point rating every book as a five star. I rely on book reviews on assessment of whether to buy a book. I look at the person writing the review, their background and what they like to read etc. I also am reluctant to give harsh reviews, but then I don’t want to put my name to something that is substandard and say it was great. It also detracts from the wonderful books where the author has taken years and great effort to make a gem of a five star book. I also owe it to those authors to show that imo their work was outstanding. Not everyone wins in the egg and spoon race lol xx

    1. I understand. I too try very hard to be kind. But sometimes my emotions don’t allow me to write in a subtle manner. I become restless then, I keep pacing. One negative review caused the publisher to block me… But then what happened to all those times when they wanted quotes about the book from me? Too many double standards.

  2. Perfection! As a reader and a reviewer, I totally agree with every point stated. If an author rejects you, they obviously fear an honest review. I value honesty and your lovely reviews are a work of art!

    1. Omg omg… Thank you so much. Yesterday I was so sad… Your words just made my heart overflow with love and respect. You really are an Empress… All heart

      1. Never doubt yourself, precious! A review means nothing if it isn’t sincere, nor is a reviewer trustworthy if they only pump out rave review pablum. You are an intelligent and well educated being with a sharp mind and keen wit. I challenge you to keep using both! 💋📚👓 💗

  3. You make a lot of great points, Shalini. Authors allow you to read their books in exchange for an HONEST review, and I think some are inclined to forget that if the review turns out to be negative. Reviews have to be honest, and it is not fair for you to be penalised for your honesty.

    1. I agree.. I have only one question – will our bosses always give a positive comment on the appraisal if they are not happy with the end result?
      Somehow the authors and publishers don’t understand this!!

  4. I appreciate negative reviews as much as the positive one because it’s criticism that makes readers to decide what they are getting into. Anyone can use good positive words even those who haven’t even read a book, It’s close observations and remarks that actual makes review stand out which can be either positive or negative. As per my experience, Publishers and Authors appreciate honest negative review as long as the presentation is proper. It shouldn’t be insulting or rude words. You are doing great, so no need to worry about it.

  5. It drives me absolutely insane when people – especially other book bloggers – criticize others for writing negative reviews. I’ve been reading posts like yours more often lately it seems, and I really don’t understand it. I wonder if authors and publishers who stray away from those who will express criticism if they feel like it, are doing so out of fear of the “shaming” or “dragging” culture that is so prominent on the internet. I sort of agree with Michael above – reviews should be informative. I’m not necessarily looking to see if someone liked a book or not, I want to know how the book was written, what devices were used, what the plot is like, how characters developed, etc. I want to read reviews that give me a thoughtful perspective on a book so I can make my own judgement about whether I want to read it. This goes for both positive and negative reviews.

    I could go on and on about this – it gets me so fired up – but my comment is long enough already. 😝

    1. Hahaha I loved your comment. But Kelsey, the thing is I can talk about characters and strength of the plot, but they may not be the same for both of us. I can only write what I felt about the book. I am more about feelings and emotions. How the book makes me feel.
      It is like a travel to an exotic place, the place and its landscapes remain the same, but each one can have a different experience in it… My reviews always give valid reason. Authors and publishers I understand they are about publicity and profits.
      But fellow bloggers and friends… That I don’t understand. And then there are unknown people who comment. Once I was harassed for one year

      1. And that is perfectly fine (not that you need my affirmation)! “Informative” doesn’t have to be explicitly about the technical elements – all I’m saying is that a good review, positive or negative, goes beyond just simply and only stating “I loved this book” or “I hated this book” (preceded by a long summary and no other thoughts). On a similar note, I think what happens when a “Pro-Positive Review Only” reader launches into a negative review, is they don’t put aside their own perspective to hear that reviewer out. Like you mention, they read a perspective or experience that is different than theirs, and for some reason find it invalid, and feel the need to lambaste or harass a reviewer about their opinion, rather than, oh I don’t know, starting a discussion about the book? 🤷‍♀️ Because it’s much more productive and worth the time to harass someone for a YEAR?!?! about difference in perspective. 😑 I feel like us Pro-All Types of Reviews people should form a little army…exercises would include lots of deep breathing exercises and jaw unclenching. ⚔

  6. The entire reviewing process is pointless if we, the reviewers, do not write honest reviews. In fact, as a reader, I am growing weary of seeing the 4 and 5 star reviews for books that, when the general public reads it, drops to a 2 or 3 star review. Reviews are good, but honest reviews are the essence of the industry. I’ve actually stopped reading certain authors who gush over a really bad book. If this is all just “marketing” with no accountability then there is no point in reviewing – writing or reading.
    I’m not even sure at what point a 3 star review became “a bad read.” Three stars is the middle, an okay book. No one seems to give 1 or 2 stars for fear of not receiving more books. If that is the case, then it is bribery – not a fair exchange of book for review – and bribery is illegal.

    1. That is exactly what happened to me. One 2 star review with detailed explanation of why the book didn’t work of a bestseller caused that author and her publisher to block me. And I have seen reviewers give 5 stars and praising that book. I went back and read thinking have I missed anything? If that is what the publishers are resorting to, then I would rather support authors and publishers who may not be well known and but are still trying to survive bringing out good books
      I can talk about how I felt about the book good or bad.
      3 star is actually 6/10 that’s 60% more than average. How is that bad? I agree with you

    2. I quite agree with your comment on 3 stars. For me a 5 star review is a book that has ‘sung to my soul’ to be trite, a 4 star review is a book that I enjoyed *very much*, 3 stars is a good book that I enjoyed and found fun, 2 stars was a not so great book with problems and 1 star was… not great *at all*. But 3 stars for me is good! It was fun, I liked it. It was a good tasty cupcake of a book, just not the three tiered extravaganza with frosting and sparklers.

      But somehow what I’m seeing is that if I give 3 stars it’s considered that I didn’t like the book. I’m also seeing a lot of inflated 4 or 5 stars for books that when pressed, the reviewer liked but didn’t love. It’s come up a few times for me recently and I began to doubt whether I was interpreting 3 stars in the same way as others!

  7. One of the most important things to have is respect. And that goes for so many things. I think it’s completely insane for people to block you, just because you didn’t like a particular book. What? You are not entitled to your own opinion on something? Seriously, something like that makes me really mad. Whatever it is, wether it’s a book or a movie or whatever else you review, everyone will experience something differently. You might agree with the reviewer, or you might not. But I would never disrespect someone or block them just because they might have a different view on something. I have always loved your reviews, and I know you work very hard on them. So in other words I completely agree with what you wrote here. Keep doing what you are doing Shaline, because it’s awesome! 😊

    1. Thank you Michel. I was really very sad yesterday and hence read up a storm. Somehow bad reviews of movies are allowed but bad reviews of books – publishers and authors block you. They need to grow up

      1. I’m really sorry that something like that has happened to you. It makes me even more mad that it has made you sad. The only thing I can say is that people like that aren’t in any way objective, but apperently only want good reviews, and not someone’s honest opinions. You want my opinion? They are not worth it, and you shouldn’t feel bad in any way about it. Your reviews are always a delight to read, and I know I am not the only one that thinks they are. Feel better okay? 😘❤️😊

        1. I am okay today… Yesterday I needed books to escape that horrible feeling of being rejected yet again. Today I am okay… Part of life. Everything is business and money!!

  8. I’m a very odd book reviewer in the sense that I have a very high rate of DNFs. I finish only about 10% of the books I start. I usually don’t review a book unless I finish it so most of my reviews are over 4.0 stars because if I finish it means I loved it. The downside is that I also write very strong 1-star reviews (because there is no zero stars) for book I fond dangerous or offensive. I guess there is no midlle ground 3-start reviews for me LOL

    So I definitely don’t have anything against bad reviews.

    However, I’ve seen some reviewers been criticized because of the use offensive words or tone. There are many that use that tone on purpose to entertain other readers and get followers/comments. I’m not a big fan of those reviews, but I have nothing against them.

    Great post Shalini! Hope you keep writing what you think you should. 🙂

    1. That is going to be my policy DNF if the book doesn’t hook me after reading 25%.
      I don’t know if I am offensive or not. I write from the heart. 3 star reviews is also good it comes to 60% which is a good score.
      Maybe I should be more strict about DNFing
      Thanks for sharing… I am going to sincerely think about not getting into books which are not interesting.

      1. I have read some of your post I seriously doubt you have been offensive! 🙂
        I’m referring more to reviews where I’ve seen the reviewer say “I would like to use this as toiler paper” (Ugh!)
        I love how the DNFs issue sounds as a “policy” 🙂 I often feel a little inadequate for doing that 🙂
        BUT there are SO MANY wonderful books to read! I just can’t find it in me to spend time with a book I’m not loving 🙂 hope it works for you too! 🙂

        1. Thank you so much Daniela. You have been a positive light in all this. I agree with you and DNF is a policy. Should be ideally.
          What is a bookish directory?

          1. oh that’s where I document all the wonderful bookish places (sites, accounts, etc) I find so people can visit them too! I would love to add yours if you are ok with it 🙂 I also like to interview bookish influencers if you are up for it 🙂

          2. Yayyy… Please do add… I will fill in the page with the best of my ability…
            I have only been interviewed once 🙈🙈 by Jo @Online Blanket Fort

          3. oh I was going to do it for you! ok no worries I’ll let you know if I need more info YAYYYY we’ll have an interview,! I’m so happy thank you! I’ll send you some Qs ASAP. 🙂

  9. Very well said, Shalini. The point of reviews is to be HONEST and if the author/publisher can’t accept that, then why are they even publishing in the first place? Not all reviews are going to be positive. It’s just a fact of life. Deal with it. Not everyone is going to like your book. Deal with it. I would much rather have an honest, critical, negative review than a false positive one. The emotional impact a book leaves a reader is why you write the book in the first place. And if one person does not feel the same as everyone else, then the book simply impacted them differently. I for one love your reviews. It’s people like you that help me choose which book to download. So keep being yourself, Shalini. And keep your HONEST reviews coming. You are awesome! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. Leslie, you are the most understanding person I have met. I am learning so much from you. You have taught me to be more patient, open minded and careful, I am becoming a better human. No wonder I am your biggest fan.

  10. Its simple, you are writing the review for the potential buyers to read, not to impress the authours or publishers. If you did not like the book, that’s it, you can’t say a book is 5 star! If you do then you are deceiving people. So if someone is upset, probably you are doing a great job being impartial.

    1. I know Raj, my one review created a furore because this time I gave careful examples and reasonings why I didn’t like the book. A bestseller author won’t like such a review. Easier to block/reject. I would rather review books of honest authors and publishers who genuinely want an opinion

      1. Yes I know, but dont get upset. These are all part of our life and whatever we do. Just like you spoke about your work how your boss would treat if he did not like it. Maturiy matters a lot in handling these. Good that you mentioned this here on a post. Peopel who depend on your reviews will definitely appreciate your work! Cheers now!

  11. Totally on board with you on this Shalini! As much as I love to write positive reviews negative reviews are necessary to call out wrong information over the book or points that made the reader uncomfortable. Reviews are written for fellow readers not to please publishers. Yes, those books are results of hard work and time but if it’s not for the reader don’t call em out on it. That’s why I try to look out for books that I totally would love not just accept or request anything I see. To avoid further issues like this but of course not every book we come across are a pleasure to us so we voice it out. So, they should accept criticisms out here, especially when a work it out its out.

    Love you for voicing this out Shalini! You surely are one of the best!

    1. Thank you so much for your support Justine. I request for books where the blurb catches my eye. But if the author wants only 4 and 5 star reviews then I should get praised when I give those reviews.
      One cannot guarantee from the blurb that one would love the books. Liking a book is individual.
      I have realized it is all money and publicity not genuiness which works in this business. They have to make a profit. Negative reviews kill their profit.

  12. I find it hard to even read a book all the way through that I don’t really like, so they’re lucky you’re even doing that if you’re not feeling the book 100%. Beyond money, reading a book takes time. There are so many books in the world–each one you read is an investment of your time. And as a writer, someone hating what I’ve written is wayyyyyy better than not reading it.

    1. Rachel, that’s a nice way of sewing things. I didn’t even think of that. Somebody not liking a book is better than being indifferent to it. Thank you for showing me another reason why I read the book.
      But now I have reached a point where I have to do things
      Develop a thick skin
      DNF a book if I it doesn’t grip me.
      You have also shown me how much time I have invested in reading that book and hoping to find a redeeming point so that I can give it above average 3 stars. Thank you… 😘❤️

  13. I love this post so much. And I agree with everything you said. My point is we don’t always have to like the same books and honesty is still the best policy. As an aspiring author, I can say that bad reviews scare the heck of me, but I also know they can’t be avoided. I know for a fact that not everyone will love the book I am writing the same way I do. And i think all authors know that. It hurts but they know it. Actually, I haven’t had authors and publishers reacted on my negative reviews, most of the times, it’s not them who React, but other readers, #Justsayin’

    And as reviewers, we are also responsible for our readers. They deserve to know what we REALLY think about the books we read. Right?

    1. I agree… But I have had authors and publishers reacting, which shocked me. Are they giving ARCs for favorable reviews. This has happened twice now. I felt sad yesterday, very sad. But now I have other things happening so can’t give in to sadness.
      Lili, as an author, you would have to face criticisms and other stuff, my only advice would be believe in yourself and your talent, and develop a thick skin.
      I am trying to…
      Keep writing… ❤️

      1. Thank you Shalini. ❤️ While I still don’t have a book out there, I’m already convincing, more like conditioning, myself to face criticisms and negative reviews, even hate… Because those stuffs are really unavoidable. 🙁

        Aaaaw, that’s so sad.. Authors and Publishers reacting that way? Don’t let them discourage you for giving honest feedbacks… And yes don’t give in to sadness,And let me tell you this, in my opinion, you’re really good at judging books. All the books I’ve received from you for blog tours are amazing. really. 😍❤️

  14. I always look at the reasons that someone didn’t like a book, because not every book appeals to everyone. As long as the review is fair, and thoughtful, I see no problem with a negative review. Sometimes I buy a book based more on the negative reviews than the positive ones!

    1. I agree.. Sometimes I read a book just to see what I would feel while reading. But negative review do not make for good publicity and sales, so would not be liked by publishers.

  15. And that’s why if I ever write you have no choice but to be a beta reader. 😄
    In my experience, there is usually at least one redeeming point in the book but that doesn’t mean it’s going to raise my overall rating or experience with the book. Honesty. When I read a good or gushing review on your blog I know the book has passed a sturdy inspection from you and I can be guided accordingly.

    1. Done deal Cozy babe. Even if you had not asked me to your beta reader, I would have forced you to give me your book, like I forced Jay!!! 😉😉😉😂😂😂😘😘😘

  16. When you review a book, that’s just what you are doing…giving a review. Not all reviews are positive and if your review reflects your personal opinion, I say you are entitled to that opinion. The best book discussions (and life discussions!) come from a multitude of opinions so stand proud behind yours! Great post, thanks so much for sharing!

  17. It is not realistic to expect a glowing review from everyone. I like to read reviews that are not all positive as long as the reviewer is able to justify why they felt that way. I think authors should appreciate that. I often give 4 or 5 stars to a book that others gave 2 or 3 and vice versa. Do not feel bad about being honest. I enjoy reading all your reviews, gushing or otherwise.

      1. Getting better, but still not there yet. I was on it a lot yesterday, so today, besides meeting my sister for lunch, I have done nothing. I have an appointment Oct. 2 for another X-Ray, so we shall see what the doc says. Thanks for asking.

  18. I agree everyones time and money is important and not all books are good fit for everyone. I couldn’t even imagine liking everything, our likes and dislikes are what makes us interesting. Not all my reviews are glowing and I stand by my words too!!!

  19. Just ignore those people/comments. You know we readers appreciate honest reviews! Our reviews aren’t negative or positive; they’re just HONEST! Plus, it’s YOUR review, YOUR opinion, so do it YOUR way! 🙂

  20. I like honest reviews. It’s not always possible to write positive reviews. You are writing review for your readers and you are responsible to them for providing honest reviews. If someone gets upset about your honest review, then it’s their problem, not yours. It just means that they are unable to take criticism in a positive way and probably are not ready to work on their weaknesses.

    1. Thanks Shaloo. I agree. Sometimes it is the negative review which makes me more curious about a book. But I suppose everything is about money and publicity. Negative reviews affect sales so they are not liked…

      1. I understand that nobody likes criticism. But if you can’t take it then how are you going to improve? They shouldn’t send books for reviews if they don’t want honest, unbiased reviews.

  21. Good for you! They always say they want an honest opinion and you give them that so you’ve held up your end of the bargain. Maybe they should stick their egos to the side and look at it as constructive criticism and make their next book better

    1. AJ they want good publicity not honest reviews. I have seen reviewers giving their books 4 and 5 stars, so when I give 2 stars, they don’t like it..

  22. I feel bad about writing a negative review and sometimes I won’t. But when I do I say something like: this is my opinion and we are all different. I might love a book you hated. It’s just one person’s opinion. Sometimes I’d love to just say this book is drivel, absolutely terrible but I’m a writer too and I guess I’m not brave enough and would feel too guilty. But somebody has to be honest and good for you. As long as you don’t attack the writer I’ve seen reviews like that. (haven’t seen your yet)

    1. I don’t hate any author, but if a book has the word perfect 76 times in 300 pages, I have to remark on it.
      I generally give an explanation why I didn’t like a book. But giving me an ARC does not mean I should write only 4 and 5 star reviews. Things have become so…. I have given up now. If an author or publisher, does not want an honest review, then it is their lookout not mine.
      As everybody, a review is for other readers to make an informed decision whether to buy the book or not. For me 1 book = meal twice a day. That is the equivalence. So as a reader I would like to know the truth so that I am using my money in the right manner.

      1. I disagree with them expecting a 5 star review. If you don’t like it you should be allowed to say. Otherwise it’s just lying. Ugh! I get ARCs from Netgalley and they’ve never told me to give a great review. I would only ever give an honest one and you are totally right

        1. Jen, I gave them an honest review, and for all the other requests, I was rejected by the publisher. When I have never been rejected… So I understood what they wanted. Their wish, their loss.

          1. That’s terrible. I had no idea! Don’t let it stop you. Get books from the library or charity shops. And keep reviewing. Or maybe swap or borrow? Their loss like you said.

          2. Honey, we don’t have all these things, no library or charity shops. Not many read, so not many buy so not many swaps from people close by. And I don’t want to be a part of online meet and borrow events they have on Facebook. We have only amazon and book shops (not close to where I stay) traveling to the bookshop means further expense.
            Amazon too does not have the deals which are available in other countries. That’s why books are expensive for me.
            But that is okay. Life moves on.. I will find genuine authors and publishers who would want me to read their books. Fingers crossed

          3. I know… They are expensive when converted to my country’s currency… Hahaha it is a catch 22 situation. But that’s the way it is

          4. Yeah…. It is fine… I mail amazon once a month to get kindle deals. They have been working on it since 2 years with no progress hehehe. Fingers crossed

  23. Although I am new to blogging..I have been continuously reading your reviews before I started my own..I would like to say that I am a big FAN of your writing..the way you craft your thoughts it overwhelms me..and to like a book or not like it it absolutely depends on the reader

  24. It’s a fine balance and one I struggle with as well. I feel if you are going to be an artist, and a writer is one, you need to develop a thicker skin. Not everyone is going to like your stuff and that is OK. However, there is a difference between constructive criticism and being nasty. I, personally, choose not to review books I don’t like simply because I don’t like them. That’s not the fault of the author and the next person may love the book. Of course, I don’t often finish books I don’t like because why would I waste my time reading or reviewing a book I dislike? However, if it’s a book you thought was OK but had some serious flaws, there is no harm in mentioning it if you are being constructive and kind. I just reviewed a middle grade graphic novel and called out a part I thought was completely unrealistic and the author tweeted back and commented that it was based on his own experience. I felt dreadful and judgmental. I think we need to remember that writers are people, too, and while we may not know them, we are now more closely connected to them. So, like with everything in life, if we treat people, even those we don’t know, as we wish to be treated -with kindness and respect – I think a review, positive or negative, is a good thing.

    1. I understand your viewpoint. For me, books are expensive
      1 book = 2 meals
      If I spend the money on book where people don’t review because it is bad, then I have lost my hard earned money, which I could have used fruitfully elsewhere. Or if people have praised it when the book doesn’t deserve it. So I need to know where I am investing my money.
      Other than USA or UK, books are expensive to the international readers, we don’t amazon deals. So every time I spend my money, I hope that I have been guided by my bloggers/reviewers. I can’t afford many books.

  25. That’s straight, that’s frank and that’s valuable. You are a great reviewer and we have been enjoying your reviews and will continue to do so.
    And perhaps we don’t like a reviewer who always tow the author’s line.
    That’s why we like you Shalini

      1. I will look forward to that Shalini. That will be priceless
        The book is progressing very slow. The reason is that I have tone down the character as he has too many escapades. But I think I found a solution 😊

  26. Great post! Just what I need for my negative review on Lies. I feel bad for not liking the book and not having the patience to deal with how ignorant the main character is. I do applause you for being able to write a negative review. 🙂

    1. Thank you… I think we should write what we really felt about the book and not just satisfy the publishers and authors. For me, books are very expensive.

  27. Hey you. I’m sorry I missed this when it was going on, but if anyone is upset by negative criticism, then they shouldn’t be an author. Not everyone is going to like a book! You promise an unbiased and truthful review when you read books, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with your Reviews. They are straight and to the point. If publishers or authors have issues with this then their skin needs to be thicker because welcome to the world of writing!! And bloggers shouldn’t be criticizing you either! Ugh. I’m so sorry. I’m here if you need anything. Love you! Don’t let them get you down! ❤😍😘

    1. I was down when the publisher on NG refused me books when they have never done so because of one 2 star review. But then I realized it is all publicity and sales, they don’t want honesty. So I have given up requesting books from that publisher anymore. 🤷🏻 Sighhhh
      You take care of your health girl. I am more worried about you. These things don’t matter… It is just blogging. You and me are friends for life

  28. I love your reviews Shalini. They are always honest. I’ve had the same and have worked on a balance, falling short sometimes and that has also resulted in my being denied. As you said, it’s about sales. But if a reader depends on me to justify my negatives to help them make a decision on a book, I’m not going to gloss over an obvious problem.

    1. I agree.. I review for myself and other readers, whether I get an ARC or not. Now I am hoping to support good honest publishers who are looking for genuine reviewers

  29. I agree with most of the other commenters: Never doubt yourself, Shalini! Its only a review, and its – as i know you – really coming from heart and profession. A maybe not so good review will encourage much more people also reviewing such a book. Best wishes, Michael.

  30. Also agree, this is something that baffles me in many ways. Learning to accept criticism and stop taking everything personal is quite scarce nowadays 🤔

  31. Lobe this post! Not everyone has the same bookish tastes. So not everyone is going to love the same books. I don’t understand why authors can’t seem to comprehend that. It’s definitely a double standard!!

  32. Some of the best and most interesting reviews that I have read are ones which are critical and I, as a reader of other blogs, prefer to read honest opinions. If someone only reviews positively I either think they happen to be very lucky and like a lot more things I and my critical brain does, are choosing only to post positive reviews (completely their prerogative) or are lying. So as a rule I like to follow people who have a mix because I think that they are being honest and fair and transparent. That is as a reader of blogs.

    As a reader of books and a blogger I too want to be honest and fair and I never shy away from the fact that I am honest on my blog. I am aware that I can be harsh at times but if I don’t like a movie then I’ll say I don’t like a movie. If I don’t like a book then I’ll say a don’t like a book. If someone at work isn’t performing, then they need to be told and developed.

    If a publisher is blocking you because they don’t like your review then they need to get a grip. Publishing and books are a business. A negative review is not going to stop people buying a book. If they only push positive reviews on a poor book then the audience is going to cotton on. Maybe it also means they need to look at their product because even though we want to romanticise books – they are a product and we are the consumers.

    If an author is blocking you I would say its because they are fragile. I get it, I’ve worked hard on stuff and received criticism and it *hurts.* But they either should just ignore it or learn to not read anything negative, take the feedback if many people are saying the same thing, or grow a thicker skin.

    Keep reviewing honestly and in a way that suits you.

    1. Wow… This was the most beautiful and the best message ever. I loved the way you have said it clearly. I agree with you. I prefer telling the truth about my journey into that book. And sometimes it is the negative review which makes me check out the book, just to see if I feel the same.
      Thank you so much for your support. This was the sweetest

  33. Based on the post and discussions above, I totally agree with you, girl. I swear, as a newer reviewer, I’ve stopped giving books ratings on my blog, instead of giving my honest opinion of the story, plot, writing, and characters. Because there is no rating, every person that reads the review can still decide whether they want to read the book, without basing that on an unreliable rating system. I’ve recently found that some people even add a 5-star or 1-star rating on Goodreads, without having read the book, because they ‘mark’ the book as a must read… This is preposterous to me! People are quick to judge and we all know that as soon as you decide to be a reviewer, you have to be unbiased and honest, always. Somehow publishers are beginning to forget this little fact in the chase for publicity. I hope you ignore all the haters and keep doing your thing? ☺

    1. With this massive support I got from the blogging community, I have felt protected and loved. Chrissie, I am going to write the way I do, maybe sometimes I might be harsh if the book frustrated me too much, but there would be sound reasoning to justify it. Can’t change and won’t change my way of reviewing…

  34. I was just going to make a post regarding this. I feel it is an injustice to leave an untrue review. I do find something that is good in it to write, like a simple line about the cover or a previous write for example. I feel if you leave a strikingly stellar review and the book is not good it will reflect badly on you as a reviewer as well.

    1. Thank you so much. I agree. For most of us, books are a luxury, so we save money and buy books. I would rather know what I am buying instead of getting fooled by positive reviews…

  35. As much as I understand your point, am afraid I don’t agree. But hear me out. It’s just that book preference can be different for everyone. What I like may not be what you like. So it’s subjective. So I think constructive criticism is better than outright negative reviews. Just my two cents.

    1. I agree about book preferences and different likes. But for me, books are expensive. One book = 2 meals. So books are a luxury. If everyone says book is good because they don’t want to say anything negative about it, then for me, it is my hard earned money down the drain.
      In a restaurant if the food is not good, I would like to be told so that I don’t go there. And most of us do that, when we find something wrong with a particular restaurant. Similarly, Reviews are for readers so that we understand if a particular book is for us or not.
      When I say the book is not good, I give my reasons. There is nothing wrong with that, as that is my journey into the book. So readers who read the same genre understand if they want to buy that book or not.
      I gave a negative review for a best seller author, I put forth reasons and dialogs from the book, but that doesn’t give right to anyone to criticize me for my review.
      I have been harassed by an author and her friends for a year for a strongly worded negative review. Wasn’t that wrong of them? They cast allegations on my profession and called me names. If a book is good, I will gush and if it is not, I will say that strongly. Whether it is criticism or negative review, I have no idea, but I do not deserve the harassment for it!!

  36. I agree with you 100%! How is an author to learn if they are not open to criticism? It is all part of the learning curve.

    1. Thomas, welcome to the Land of bloggers and reviewers. You have been one of my most understanding authors. But unfortunately there are some who have called me names I wouldn’t utter in polite company, just for refusing to read their book or giving it a low rating!! 😊😊

  37. Good for you! I happen to think we do a disservice to society if we are unable to think critically about the media we consume and question it out loud to engage others in the conversation. I can appreciate how much work goes into a book, and my intention is never to simply tear down an author. That said, if there are reasons that I didn’t enjoy a book, I am more than happy to talk about that in a way that is honest and respectful but (YES) critical!

    1. Thank you so much… You have said it most aptly… I agree, for me books are a luxury… So when a blogger is honest, it makes my life so much easy❤️

  38. Obviously, based on comments, people feel passionately about reviews. We are asked to read and review giving an honest opinion. Why ask for it and then get upset over it? Keep sharing your views!

    1. Thank you so much… Some want only positive reviews and some reviewers do cater to them. But I prefer to be frank and honest now… Thank you for your support ❤️❤️

  39. I used to run a book blog, which I shut down for many reasons. One of the reasons was that I was a little too harsh with my reviews. I wanted to review books from the perspective of a professional critic, but I think I just sounded mean. While reading tastes are subjective, there is a way to properly critique and review a book. Sometimes, we unintentionally take a dig at the author rather than the author’s work. However, I do think some people expect reviewers to maintain the “positive vibes only” attitude. Reviews are not meant for the author. They’re meant for readers to determine if they should buy the book or not. Of course, people feel attacked when someone says anything about something they really like. They take it as a personal critique on them because the things we love become a part of us; however, some people use the things they love to define themselves.

    1. I agree… To each their own. I used to be sarcastic, now I am tempering it down. But at the end of it, this is my blog and I have to be honest because books are extremely expensive… Not like other parts of the world. So I need honest reviews to decide if a book is for me. 📙

  40. Hi! I totally understand what you mean! Not all books are amazing and eye-wideningly good, some are rubbish and you end up putting them down before the first chapter, I think it’s great you have the courage to write negative book reviews, and it helps people know if they will like the book 📚 and helps people know the truth! Keep on blogging! 😊

  41. Hey Amber… You are so sweet and understanding… And I am so happy that you understood my points. Thank you so much. You are an absolute darling ❤️❤️

  42. I agree with you. I post negative reviews, if you don’t, it’s not a review just a PR exercise. Keep the faith and post what you really feel.

  43. I don’t understand this. Authors really need to learn criticism and learn that not everyone is going to like their book. I don’t see anything wrong with leaving a bad review as long as it’s not harsh.

    1. Well, I used to be harsh but I have tempered it down. My logic was if I have spent money buying the book, the author should at least give me a plausible story. Books are expensive for me, I save money, handle budget and buy one. Hence…
      Thank you for your words of encouragement ❤️

  44. I totally agree!! It’s much braver to say the truth than to say what the publishers want to hear. Book blogs who do that aren’t trustworthy sources imo bc I don’t know whether to believe them or not.

  45. I completely agree. Every person has a right to tell their truth. If you didn’t like a book, that’s perfectly fine. People need to stop getting offended over nothing.
    P.S. I’m going to be starting a series of book reviews on my site. plz check them out! 🙂

    1. True that… Well they tell me authors are sensitive… But I am very sensitive too.. My views too ought to be respected.
      Thank you for your kind words and support

  46. I love this post! I am terrified to give a bad review, and although it doesn’t happen often (as I’m picky about what I read) I will give a bad review if I have to. Most ARCs are stipulated that you have to give HONEST reviews to get the book anyway, so I agree with everything you said!

    1. I used to be terrified as I was harassed by an author’s fans for a year. But now I realize that if everyone gives only positive reviews then how will I know which books to buy. Books are expensive for me, they are a luxury so I will write what works for me and I need my bloggers to be honest too, so that I can make an informed decision. I read all kinds of books, so I get all sorts of requests… 😂 Thank you for your supportive words ♥️

  47. (Sorry I couldn’t find the conversation thread on my phone to reply properly haha) that must have been a horrible experience and really unfair. Everyone is allowed and opinion without being harassed for it, it’s freedom of speech! And I totally agree, without honest opinions how are you supposed to know if a book is good or not! I always read reviews and that’s why I tend to pick books I give four or five stars to. I always make an informed decision before I read it! And usually when I read a book I have to give a bad review to, it’s because the other reviews I have read said it was great (when it really wasn’t)

  48. Books are expensive so I appreciate HONEST reviews of a book. If I see someone just said, “LOVED IT!” it doesn’t do anything for me. If they give me a reason why they love it, great! I also appreciate when people say, the book did not do anything for them and explain why. If there’s a book I’ve been dying to read and I read a lot of eh reviews, it doesn’t leave my TBR list, it just moves down and I wait until I can find it used or for a bargain. That is CRAZY that they do that just because you post an unfavorable review of their book! Every book is NOT a 5 star book!!!!!! Keep doing what you’re doing!

    1. Yayyy thank you so much for your enthusiastic support. Loved your comment. Books are expensive for me too. Amazon doesn’t give us many sales here. Hence I would prefer an honest review to make an informed choice… Thanks❤️

  49. There’s a prevalent idea that reviews are for readers, not for the writers. Negative reviews serve a larger purpose and while yes… writers have put a lot of effort into their work, it doesn’t serve writers or readers to only focus on the positives or with cultivating inauthentic, positive reviews. I think writers (speaking as one) shouldn’t focus so hard on feeling bad about negative reviews especially if the intention is to get better as a writer, and readers shouldn’t feel like they have to defend a writer’s work. It’s all a part of the business of being a writer.

    1. Hello Montgomery, lovely to meet you. Thank you for understanding… I hate writing a negative review. I really really want to love all my books. I have been reading for many decades now. So I love books. But sometimes the content of the book makes me write a non favorable review. After being harassed by an author’s fans, I have started giving detailed justification…
      But on the whole, I can only write my POV, my journey into the book.
      I am so happy to have met you. You have understood the business well

      1. I definitely have felt the pressure over negative reviews in the past (especially in getting ARCs from authors) but at the end of the day sometimes a book isn’t one that you enjoy. It’s okay.

        I’m glad I came across this post; I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog!

  50. I am with you 100%! I hate it when I feel bad for writing a strongly worded book review over a book that I either DNF or just did not like in general. It is irritating!

    1. I prefer being honest and say it upright now… Thank you for your supportive comment. I have yet to DNF a book in 2018… My new year resolution to DNF if I didn’t like first 80 pages…

  51. It can be hard sometimes to write a negative review on a book that others really like but no one is going to like everything all the time. I have written quite a few negative reviews both on my blog and on Goodreads. You will get backlash and naysayers when you write strongly against something, but that is just part of life. You’re not going to like everything you read and your readers aren’t going to like everything you write.

  52. Hi yes after all it is our money. We have all the rights to speak about the product.if you have time, read my blog. I am new to blogging. your comments are most welcome.

  53. I completely agree with your sentiment. Authors need to know that not everyone will like their work and you have the right to state your opinion. I personally like when bloggers write reviews for books they didn’t like — it seems genuine and you KNOW they have lots of feelings about it.

    1. Exactly… Thank you so much for your kind words.. I too need to know the truth about a book so that I can decide… But I have seen many give only favorable reviews…. There are never any negative points in any of the reviews… 🤔🤔🙄🙄

  54. i have gone through the same months ago when i had written a negative review, The author started calling me day and night to took of my reviews it will affect his sa;es he made my life hell,

    1. I am so sorry that you have gone through this rubbish. Next time ignore such authors totally… I had a similar problem a year back. I didn’t remove my review… Review is for readers not authors… And sales don’t get affected by 1 review…

  55. I got the book I linked below for free, and I crushed this book so hard that I almost felt bad for posting it. A few people I know told me I could be kinder about how I wrote it, but I hated the book and I wanted it to be known that I didn’t have any good thoughts about the book. Here’s the thing, people need to know that occasionally you’ll find someone who doesn’t like your work. It sucks to hear, but you just have to ignore it or try and find something in their words to help you grow in your craft. The fact that I know people who don’t give below a 7/10 on any review doesn’t help anyone grow at all. I haven’t been harassed by the author thankfully, but I know people can’t handle being told they’re not the next Rowling, Shakespeare, or Sanderson. It sucks, but I figured out that really all you can do is stick to your guns about it.

  56. Hahaha I read your post and your friends comments… Well your blog your review… Go for it..
    Thank you for your kind words
    Sorry for delay you were in my spam folder

  57. I believe a book review should be fair and it is just your opinion. With that thinking why can’t you write a negative review? It’s all part of the criticism isn’t it? I write negative reviews if I find problems with books and I don’t feel guilty. You shouldn’t either.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words… I have Ben abused by authors, harassed by their fans for a year… But when a publisher rejected me, I didn’t think it was fair… Well, now I plan to DNF books in 2019…💕 I want to read books with entice me…

  58. Hi Shalini,
    Today is my first day on wordpress and i haven’t even put up a review yet but i just wanted to say that i agreed with you totally. I want to do book reviews too and i definitely plan on putting up negative book reviews if i don’t like the book. I think authors are amazing but they are also humans and they gets things wrongs sometimes. As their fans and readers, whilst we always seek to encourage them and support, we must feedback our opinions and thoughts. And sometimes, pardon my language, you can’t polish a turd. If the book sucks, it sucks. it’s important that book reviewers inform the general public so they don’t waste their time or money reading a book they won’t like. I’m sorry to hear that you are being shunned by publishers and fans alike as a result of your honesty. I hope that you won’t continue to be vilified and will instead be appreciated for the work you do.

    1. Thank you so much
      Welcome to blogging world, I hope you have fun here.
      I understand the author’s POV of wanting only positive reviews. But sometimes I don’t like their words. And every book cannot be for everyone. I was bullied for a year by author’s fans. Hence I cannot be circumspect… If a book dies not work, it does not… 😂 😂
      Good luck with your reviewing journey
      I have followed you… I think I will get 10 points for laughing at your jokes 😘💞 happy 2019

  59. I believe you should always tell your truth. I’ve found that I usually find things to like in most of the things I review, and I try to include those. But, if the things I dislike outweigh the positive, then so be it.

    1. Well said… I generally don’t think much while writing review. I write what I feel and go with the flow so maybe some writers and bloggers may not like that..
      Thank you so much for your kind words and support. Happy 2019 💕 💞

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