A Note:


I once told myself: IF I am accepted into grad school, this blog would no longer be updated. As it turns out, in April, I received news of my acceptance for the Fall 2013 semester, where I will attain a Master's degree of Science in Nutrition.

Running a blog, as many of you may already know, is a demanding side job once the excitement wears off. And once I fell out of the blogging community's loop (have you SEEN how many blogs there are now? Wow!), it was like the kiss of death. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't get into a blogging routine once this happened due to the disconnect I felt from the community.

So I took a break. I struggled with the loss and with missing my blog. And then I realized I didn't have to run Book Faery to still be a book reviewer; I could read my books and post reviews online. I'm still a book review blogger, just not in the traditional sense.

I'll still be online. You can chat with me on Twitter, where I'll be posting links to my reviews and talking books. I'll also be posting links to nutrition articles. And if you'd like to connect with me where I guarantee I will post reviews, just add me as a friend on Goodreads.

So that's all, folks! It's been a fun and amazing journey, and I thank you all for listening to my thoughts about books. I hope we all can keep in touch elsewhere :)


Sunday, December 19, 2010

To Refrain, or not to Refrain?

NOTE:  I will be posting giveaway winners ASAP.  My apologies about the ridiculously long wait but Eleni and I got backed up this past week.  I'll make it up to you all soon with a huge book giveaway :)

My final is tomorrow and instead of studying, I got distracted and went onto Twitter (go figure).  I've been juggling with a question ever since I started blogging and my reader-base grew.  It's the type of question that's made me want to rip my hair our and scream bloody murder.  It's the type of question that has no real answer, either.

I've been struggling with positive and negative reviews as of late.  Do you post negative reviews on the blog if you're an aspiring author?  Do you bite your tongue and refrain from reviewing?  WHAT DO YOU DO!?  And holy crap, what do you do if an author asked you to review a book and you didn't like it?  Well for that one, I know what to do, but for the other questions?  My brain still hurts from overthinking.

Some people tell me I'm nice when it comes to writing negative reviews.  I try to, if I did not enjoy a book, say what didn't work and then back up that statement with some constructive criticism.  That's my goal for books that simply did not work for me.  I don't attack the authors.  I just state what's wrong.  Yet... there are authors who will still hate your guts for doing that, I bet.  I know I've probably ruined a few friendships with some authors online because I might have been a bit too honest in their eyes (when I thought I was simply making a harmless statement)... and it sucks.  Who wants to lose a friendship with someone over an opinion regarding a book?

I know that I personally would love to see constructive criticism in reviews regarding any future books I might get published.  If there's a problem in my book that a lot of people take issue with, why not?  It's nice receiving an outsider's opinion, and I know I would take those suggestions to heart when plotting/writing/revising any future works.  I also know not everyone wants to receive such reviews.  But guess what?  Getting a book published means you're not going to please everyone.

I don't want to step on any toes before I'm even published.  So what do I do?  Do I refrain from posting those negative reviews about the books I didn't like?  I'm not going to lie and bullshit about how awesome a book is if I didn't like it, so does that mean I simply do not review those books that I did not enjoy?  I guess if I don't want to step on any toes, then it would make sense to not post negative reviews in general, but what about the readers? 

What. about. the. readers? 

If I don't post negative reviews, I'm going against one of the primary reasons I started blogging in the first place.  Yeah, I wanted to blog to make friends, review books I love and spread the love.  I wanted to review the not-so-great books and explain why they didn't work, because you know what?  Amazon reviews for super-omega popular books, books like TWILIGHT, all had gushing 5-star reviews stating: "ZOMG DIS BOOK RAWKS!" and that shit used to piss me off.  Not because people loved the book, but because when I finally went to go read it, I absolutely HATED IT and was angry that I ended up wasting $7-20 bucks on a mediocre book I could have rented from the library.  (Btw: No hate on TWILIGHT here, I'm just using it as an example since I assume Meyer's not going to give a shit).

I always used to wonder in those situations: Why the hell wasn't there anything that politely stated what the flaws were and what the reader wished was there instead?  Why weren't there more negative reviews that warned me of what I was getting myself into?

When it comes to buying books, most of the time, I ignore all of the 5-star reviews and search for the 1-3 -stars.  Why?  Because I know what I like to read about and I'd prefer to hear the brutally honest truth about a book I'm going to be spending/wasting MY money on.  If there are a majority of low ratings that all state that the heroine in the book is dumber than a rock, then chances are I might feel the same way too.  I've also come to realize that a lot of bloggers tend to bull shit and gush in their 5-star reviews.  No hate on those reviewers, but I'm not interested in hearing how much you "looooooooove this book!" if I'm considering buying it.  I want to know why you like it, and what you didn't like about it, and who you think will enjoy it. 

Now I've ranted and raved about why I think negative reviews are important.  The question still remains:  for aspiring authors, do you post those negative reviews and risk stepping on some toes, or do you refrain?

I'm thinking that I might start refraining and only post 3-5 -star ratings from now on.  Perhaps I'll leave the negative reviews to Book Dragon.

What do you all think?  I know some of you wanted to know which books I DNF'ed.  I know some of you appreciated my lower rated reviews.  Will you stop reading my reviews if I only post about books that are positive?

You can be totally honest.  If you'd stop reading my blog because I gave in, tell me.  You're not going to hurt my feelings.

EDIT:  After receiving such supportive responses, I've decided to keep writing negative reviews.  This post was oddly therapeutic, so thank you very much everyone! :)


  1. I think you answered your own question. You only search for the 1-3 star reviews to read. Why would you stop doing that? Author friendships are nice, but there are authors that will be friends with you even if there book(s) aren't for you. If an author is going to care more about getting a positive reaction than getting an honest one, it's not worth it.

    I'm not saying that all authors that get upset over a negative review are being overdramatic, though. My view is that if you write good reviews that, for all intents and purposes, are polite and try and suggest an audience for the book that may like it, you shouldn't worry about it.

    For instance, I gave Sophie Jordan's Firelight a 3.5 review. I enjoyed it but had a few issues that, to me, would have spelled 'death' of being able to talk to her. Yet she said I got what she wanted to do with things and was polite about it. I also had that regarding Janni Simner's Thief Eyes. The book didn't work for me, but the author didn't hold it against me. You'll find that the authors that really want to be friends with you will understand that not every book works for every person. :)

    Just my two cents. Hope it helped! And please don't stop reviewing negative books. Trust me, it helps a lot more in some cases.

  2. I personally love reading negative reviews because they tend to be more informative about the book. I've actually purchased several books based on 1-3 star reviews because I find that they are less OMG LUV LUV LUV THIS then the good reviews.

    I wouldn't stop reading your blog if you stopped posting negative reviews, but I do enjoy them a lot.

  3. As an aspiring author I could see how you would be worried about future contacts.
    In general I would still read your blog if you posted good reviews only but I would be bummed out because I've come to trust your opinion and there would be a whole list of books that I would waste money on & end up reading and not enjoying because I didn't have your input or warning.
    But like the previous commenter, I some times read a book BEACAUSE of the negative review.
    I think most authors (not all) get it and deal with it just fine as long as you are fair with your review.
    The publishing/promotional landscape has changed and authors & bloggers are just going to have to stop being so sensitive. I don't think an author would comment if a major publication criticized their book. I think bloggers are easier to go after. On the other hand bloggers are throwing their opinion out there and have to be open to some hits also. As long as it's all honest and constructive I say grow a thick skin and be honest.

  4. There's an important distinction between an author and a reviewer. While I respect the opinion of published authors, I tend to take it with a larger grain of salt than I do a reviewer's opinion because of exactly what you described - I have to wonder how much of it is political.

    At the end of the day, a review is just someone's opinion. If they backed up the negativity with reasons and examples and were not overtly snarky about it, then I say, the review was well worth reading. Sugar coating a review or not posting a review for fear of what the author might think (no matter what your job title is) is cheating yourself and your readers out of something. Be nice, be fair, but if you don't like something say so. After all, it's just an opinion (just one opinion) and I'm entitled not to agree with it (both as a writer and a reader).

    Such a tough topic though, especially for aspiring authors.

  5. John, author friendships are nice. Not worried about that so much as what would happen if my negative reviews would wind up biting me in the ass later on down the line if I got pubbed.

    Cade, I've read so many negative reviews that have encouraged me to buy a new book too! Whenever I check out new books I read the negative reviews because I think they give a fairer description of what the reading experience is actually like.

    And also, thanks for telling me you enjoy mine. I'm glad to hear that!

    Karen, I could still tell you which books did and didn't work for me :) I agree though, I think authors do need to change and grow thicker skins. So long as the review does not attack them, who cares? I know the negative reviews hurt, but in the end, a review is a review and it's getting your book some much needed attention in the blogging community.

    On the same note, I think the bloggers who bash and bash and bash do deserve what they get :X

    Hey Megan, thanks for stopping by. I agree with you: I do not read ANY author reviews exactly for that reason. In fact, if I were to ever get published, I would probably stop reviewing in general because I don't want to A) come off as unreliable to readers; B) ostracize myself amongst the author community.

    Thanks for saying exactly what I was thinking. Reviews are just opinions. I just wish some authors didn't take reviews SO personally.

    All of these comments, the texts, and tweets I've received have been great so far and made me feel a bit better. Thank you so much everyone!

  6. I am glad you decided to keep posting them all.

    I think that all opinions are legit. What I like about your reviews is like you said, you say what works and what doesn't. You give an honest opinion without being rude, I've never seen a negative review in which you personally attack an author. Which is great, I hate it when I see a review that is rude and attacks the author on a personal level. More then just I don't like the story because of AB&C.

    When I am thinking of reading a book, I hold more in the 2-4 star reviews then the 1 or 5. I also didn't like Twilight and I hate how many reviews just say "Best book ever!" or "piece of crap".

    But yeah, I am glad you are going to post all reviews.

    Don't worry about announcing the giveaway winners, you're busy take your time.

  7. Thanks Moirae! :)

    I generally am within the 2-4 category as of late. 1 = DNF and 5 = blew my mind. Too bad there aren't a lot of books that have blown my mind recently.

  8. I think you should keep doing things the way you have. I love your reviews because they are so honest. You aren't being mean because you give reasons for why you felt the way you did.

  9. Being honest and polite is the way to go. I don't think bashing authors is professional. Keep doing what you're doing. Stating what didn't work for you and why. It's the best way, and honestly, if an author can't handle professional criticism, DAMN, did they ever pick the wrong profession!

  10. I am a reader and I follow about 16 review blogs (including yours). Negative reviews are fine, but I don't want to read a review that tears the author or book to shreds. There is no need to be mean. I prefer the "I didn't like this book because..." approach. Just because one person doesn't like a book doesn't mean another won't. That is why I read lots of different reviews of a book. And if no one liked it, I will move it down my TBR list, but not off.
    If an author sent me a book to review and I thought it was just awful, I would privately email the author and give them an honest, but not mean opinion. Then post "I didn't like this book because..." .
    I don't envy you bloggers, but I appreciate what you do. Keep up the great work and thanks!

  11. Thank you Melina! I hope I'm not too crass in them sometimes lol.

    Smash, ain't that the truth? I'm starting to think that most authors won't even realize this blog and my potential author persona are the same person lol.

    Sharon, I'm flattered that I'm one of the 16! :) I usually contact an author when they personally ask me to review a book. Most book I review now are either from BEA or the publisher. And any books that I don't want to keep are usually given away so that another can appreciate them... so it's not like the books don't get whored around ;)

  12. Girl you know i commend you on being honest, your one of the bloggers who reminds me why it's so important to do negative reviews, i battle very rarely but have had days like you are having today but seriously my negative reviews are just as important to me as the positive if not more because i have to challenge myself each time, the day i tell myself i am going to stop writing negative reviews, i will stop blogging, don't let anything stop you from remaining true to yourself, if that means we have to give each other a reminder here and there then so be it :)