Why I Don’t Review Books

OK obviously I do review books, I’m a book blogger so it’d be a little odd if I didn’t post any reviews or express an opinion on what I’ve read, but if you follow my blog regularly you may have noticed that there’s a bit of a disparity between the number of books read and the number I’ve posted reviews for. I do try to review almost every ARC I receive, someone was kind enough to give me it for free so I feel I should, but there are quite a few occasions when I just don’t want to review a book. Here’s why.

I can’t find the words

This most commonly happens with books I love, I literally can’t find the right words to express how a book made me feel in any kind of meaningful way. A Monster Calls (or pretty much any Patrick Ness), ADSOM, Six of Crows are all books I haven’t been able to review for this very reason.

Honestly if I did attempt a review there would be some serious fangirling going on. Loved the author, loved the story, loved all of the characters (where’s that thesaurus I can’t keep using love). Other times I just can’t pinpoint what it was that made me feel that way, so describing it is nigh on impossible.

It’s all been said before

 

Does anyone really want to see my review of ACOTAR or A.N. Other book which is super popular and everyone in the whole wide world has read?

Personally I love reading reviews of these books as I want to know how other people’s opinion compares to mine but I get the feeling there are many out there who are getting a little fed up with reading the same reviews of the same books over and over and over again. I also feel like I don’t have anything original to add and anything I would say has been said before and by someone much funnier or more intelligent than me.

F.O.A.R.

Also known as Fear Of Author Reading (OK I totally just made that up). I’m fairly certain the big popular authors are probably never going to see the reviews I write and if they did I doubt they’d care, but they might. The lesser known authors however will almost definitely see it. As someone who’s kind of in awe of authors and very self conscious about my own writing this terrifies me. What if they think I’m criticising and take offense? What if my review’s poorly written and they see it? Or, even worse, what if it’s my favourite author and I didn’t love the book? What if I meet them or know them? It’s all just too scary.

I don’t feel qualified

I’ve never even written a short story never mind a book, I have no qualifications in English Lit or Creative Writing so am I really in a position to review someone else’s work. Most authors do say they want people to leave reviews even if they’re just a few words but there are certain books, generally the classics, which I feel I don’t really have a right to post a review of. Academics and experts have spent years studying these books and many of them are taught in schools. Any opinion I had would be decidedly amateur and uninformed.

Spoilers

Psychological thrillers, murder mysteries, sequels these can be almost impossible to review. You probably can’t say much about the storyline, you may not be able to talk about the characters without giving something away so what’s actually left.  It was good???

There’s literally nothing to say

There’s nothing wrong with it but nothing I particularly liked either. The whole thing was just meh and I don’t care enough to want to spend the time trying to figure out what to say about it other than it was ok.

It’s not blog appropriate

I generally try to make sure my content is suitable for all ages so while I do read adult books I don’t tend to post detailed reviews (I’d probably self-combust from embarrassment if I tried anyway). There will be a quick liked it or didn’t and that’s probably about it.

I don’t want to hate on a book

I started my blog because I love books and want to chat to other bookish people. I don’t really want to write a review slagging off a story an author has spent months or years creating particularly if it’s just not for me. Don’t get me wrong if there’s something in a book I find really offensive and wrong I’ll quite happily post a big rant but generally if I don’t like it, it’s a quick “not for me” and move on.

I just want to enjoy the read

Yep sometimes I just want to read for the joy of reading without the pressure of having to write a review.

I read somewhere that a good review should be objective, unemotional and that you should provide supporting evidence for your views. I’m pretty sure this means that none of my reviews are actually any good (not qualified remember) but when I do write one I think through all of my points. What did I like or not like and why? How was the writing? Were the characters well defined or stereotyped? How was the pacing? Basically I analyse it and let’s face it even the best books will struggle to withstand scrutiny so if I loved a book I don’t want to analyse it. Partly because it may turn out to be not that well written or a little cliched but mostly because I want to just bask in the way it made me feel.


So that’s my reasons for not reviewing every single book I read. Is it wrong not to review all of the books I read? Do you?

I’d love to know what you think so please, please comment below.

 

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25 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Review Books

  1. I definitely don’t review all the books I read, partially because I read a lot and I just inevitably fall behind on the reviews. :p But I agree it can be hard to review a book I really liked because I just want to sit there and say “It was good!!! Really good!!!” And, yeah, it’s hard to review books that hinge on some type of response. I find even “vague” comments someone makes about the ending of a book can spoil it for me. Like, if someone is reviewing a YA book about a girl with cancer and they say “I didn’t like the ending” I just think, “So the character dies, right?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh the time thing is definitely an issue. If I reviewed every book I read there would be a lot less reading time and if it’s a choice I’d much rather be reading 🙂
      Talking about endings of books is always the worst. It is often an important bit of the review (the ending can make or break a book) but how do you describe it without even vague spoilers. There was a recent book where everyone kept saying the ending was tragic and heartbreaking so you just knew one of the main characters died. I spent the whole book waiting for the death. I try to go for the “did/didn’t work” or “I thought it was right/wrong” and hope no one can figure it out.

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  2. It is completely your choice whether or not to review every book or not and I know many bloggers only review x stars and above for instance.

    But… I do disagree with you not feeling qualified and that strict definition of what a review should consist of. It’s your blog and your right to leave a few words on Amazon which benefits the author (even if it isn’t a high star rating) and I’m fairly certain no-one is judging each and every one.

    I review every book I read, unless I don’t finish it because it wasn’t my thing – again I choose because it is my blog and because I set my blog up for readers (not authors and publishers) and sometimes saying a book has massive plot holes or another problem will stop someone buying a book but other times my reasons for not liking a book may be that very thing that someone else enjoys in a book – the only thing I make sure of is that I am honest without being unkind.

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    • I’ve not had many bad reads recently, I think because I’ve been more selective, but I do wonder if I’m always giving high ratings if readers will start to question my objectivity.
      That definition of a review actually came from an author (so is probably a little biased) and is not one I agree with either. I tend to judge books emotionally rather than objectively and actually that’s what I like when reading reviews. There are lots of books with brilliant writing which just leave me cold. I just wish I had more knowledge of the technical side of writing and novels, mostly so I can identify and put into words why I think it worked or didn’t. There are so many times I’m reading and something feels off but I can’t figure out what or why.
      I do try to make my blog for readers but when I know the author or publisher may read it, it does make me more conscious of what I write.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I definitely don’t review every book I read, but I do review most of them? I think it’s mainly because now that I blog, most of what I review is ARCs, so I HAVE to, in a sense! But, even for books I read for fun, there are some I don’t review at all on my blog! I love reading M/M adult romance, but I’m never going to review it on my blog ever, so there’s that. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah I have to admit the majority of books not reviewed by me are romances. I love M/M romances, paranormal romance and even some fifty shades type reads but I don’t think I’d ever post a full review. More often than not they get a passing mention in a list type post. I will however put a quick review on Goodreads.

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  4. Ah I feel that way about books I love sometimes- especially with books like Monster calls and Six of crows! Aww I don’t think you should feel like you don’t have anything unique to say though- I’d read your reviews and so would loads of other people- you’d bring your own uniqueness! hahah yeah I just go with the assumption none of them will read my reviews, cos I never tag them in it. I think there’s times when it’s ok to do spoiler reviews, as long as you say that 😉 But I do *totally* get why you wouldn’t want to review every book you read!! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I do tend to review pretty much every book on GoodReads (mostly so i can keep track of them) but with books like Monster Calls I think my review was about 6 words long (I’m actually kinda tempted to make 6 word reviews a thing) as that pretty much covered it. 6 words is probably not enough for a blog post though 🙂
      I don’t know about the unique thing. When a book has literally tens of thousands of reviews can you really find something original to say? I feel like just referring everyone to that person’s review which says exactly what I’m thinking.
      Some authors do seem to be really against you tagging them and others want it. It’s so confusing. I don’t cos that way I can pretend they’ll never see it and say whatever I want 😀 (although I tend not to be too ranty just in case)

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      • You’re welcome!! That’s fair enough!! Hahaha yeah that book was amazing- I couldn’t review it either! Yeah that’s true.
        Yeah hehe I just don’t pay enough attention and assume they don’t pay attention to me either- that said I have a couple of authors who have found my reviews, but they were all positive anyway 😉

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  5. I can think of books I’ve not reviewed under every one of those heading. I have total affinity with this post! The Vegetarian, for instance, was ‘I have no words for this’! I love Sarah Waters and always think when I review her books ‘what more can be said’? It is comforting to know others face the same conundrums.

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  6. You have some amazing points! I do review almost all books I read these days because otherwise I’ll just Forget about them. I know how yoi feel on the wording, sometimes I just have no idea what to say any more otherwise than “loved this loved that”! Haha

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  7. I don’t review everything I read! That would be exhausting! I just write if I’m inspired to say something, & sometimes that means a post filled with butterflies & bubbles because I LOVE THE BOOK, or a post filled with reasons why possibly it’s the worst book I’ve ever read. I’ve actually {I hope} deleted all those posts because I’d rather put butterflies into the world than dark clouds. Sometimes it’s fun to TRY to be analytical & carefully assess a book though, merely because it probably sharpens my own writing chops by helping me put into words what doesn’t personally work for me, & why. I don’t consider such posts reviews — just places for me to journal my remarks for my own benefit. 🙂

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  8. Honestly, the three star ratings are the worse. Like yes it was nice, but not life changing. The end.

    I do write a review for most of the things I read, but my scientific background I feel allows me to approach the book more objectively. I am not afraid to post a review of a “backlist” book either, because it is my belief a book can apply to people no matter when it was published and there is something beautiful in that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I find three star ratings can go either way. Sometimes it’s three stars because it’s very average like you describe. Other time it’s because there were bits I loved and bits I hated so there is plenty to talk about.

      That’s great that your background helps so much. I’m also quite analytical but for some reason it tends to disappear when it comes to books.

      You have a great point too about backlist books. I do love reading others reviews I just struggle to write one.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I love this post so much!!! You hit on every single reason why I rarely post reviews, too. I think that just posting about books you’re reading or are interested in is enough to promote and get people reading. I rarely read entire reviews (spoilers scare me), and I only post reviews for books I really felt strongly about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad it’s not just me who feels like this at times.

      Totally agree that just a brief mention of a book somewhere can spark my interest in it and I too tend to avoid reviews of books I really want to read although love reviews of books I’ve read.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This was such an interesting post to read!!! I review all my books, but sometimes it takes me a month or so after just because I need to find the words. I totally relate to the “nothing to say” aspect, and that makes my reviews really short sometimes!
    The fear of authors seeing it is 110% real. I once reviewed a book at the request of an indie author and hated it, DNFing it, and I was too terrified to post a review because I felt horrible that I didn’t like his book and he was almost guaranteed to see it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been known to leave it a while too before writing a review, sometimes too long and then I can’t actually remember what I thought of it 😀

      That would be my nightmare situation and is part of the reason I’m reluctant to accept books directly from authors. My last terrifying experience was when I agreed to be on a blog tour. I did enjoy the book but knowing the author (who is one of my all time favourites) and publisher would definitely be reading and that I had to post on a certain day had me panicking. Don’t think I’ve ever spent so long on a review and it was still awful.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Omg that’s why I never sign up for reviews on blog tours since I actually cannot force myself to read on a deadline!!! And the whole thing about it liking it was HORRIBLE.

        Liked by 1 person

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