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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Positive or Negative reviews? Where’s the line?

After reading Lenore’s post Book Bloggers Behaving Badly: Are you on an author’s “hate list”? and more precisely this section:

Send your links of bad reviews to authors or @ reply them on twitter. Of course you have the right the write an honest review – but why do you want to throw a less than stellar critique in an author’s face? Says one author (sarcastically): I love when book bloggers are really rude about my books on their blog, and then tweet their reviews with my twitter name attached, so it shows up for me. And then other people RT it, because they have no idea it’s a bad review…because who would do that?

I’ve been asking myself, what’s the definition of a bad review?

First of all I prefer saying Positive and Negative reviews because I think Good and Bad reviews refers more to the bloggers writing skills/talent than the actual opinion of the book.

I’m gonna use some of my reviews here to try an explain my dilemma.


I think sometimes it’s pretty clear when a review is positive because you only have praise for this book, here’s a few examples:

Fire by Kristin Cashore

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (slight spoilers if you haven’t read the firs 2 books)

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick


On the other opposite, some reviews are clearly negative, and here’s my only review to fit the bill, I think:

Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves

Yes the review is certainly negative, but is it a bad review? I don’t think so. Backed up my opinion with reasons why, gave links to other reviews for the readers to have access to other opinions and did it all with respect for the author (or at least I meant to).


I think the tricky part is the in-betweens. and let’s be honest most of our reviews fit in that grey-zone category. You can’t love every single details of a book. Does it make your review negative if you mention the points you didn’t like?

Personally I don’t think so, I think it makes the review honest and gives pointers to authors (if they read it) as to what their reading ship likes and don’t, for future books. But hey, maybe I’m wrong!

Here’s some of those reviews:

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

ShadowFae by Erica Hayes

Midnight’s Daughter by Karen Chance


So I’m asking you, where’s the line between a Positive and a Negative review?

Also, If you are an author, please let us know *g*

Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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6 People left their mark' :

  1. That is one good question. This is an interesting topic!
    I agree with you most of our reviews are not black or white... I always point out what I didn't like, what didn't work for me in a book, even with books I absolutely LOVED. I'd rather read an honest review myself.

  2. I think what it really comes down to, as a writer, is a 'constructive' reviews. Books are like wine, and your taste changes from book to book. The best thing is constructive critisism because the author can grow from it, rather than feel attacked. I like to know what people did and didn't like, even if, for the most part, they liked it. Much rather see a 'constructive' review than a 'bad' one :)

  3. I also think there should be no pressure to always write a positive review. You should be able to write what you feel, in a constructive manner, what you felt about the book. That's why you review in the first place. There are very few books out there that I can honestly say I absolutely detested. I can usually find good points about every book I read.

    Personally I would be very disappointed if I read a book and it was subpar, yet the reviewer gave it a 5/5 just because they felt pressured to be positive. I would rather hear an honest opinion, but not one that attacks a writer either. There is always something good to be found.

  4. Personally, I always try my best to be honest about how I felt about a book. With that being said, even if I didn't like a particular book, there's usually something I can pick out that was well done or that I enjoyed. I try to point out both aspects, and not just "bash" the book. And obviously, my opinions are completely subjective. I understand that someone might love a book that I myself didn't really care for.

    Great post girl! :)

  5. It's often a fine line between pos/neg reviews. As long as the reviewer explains why they took issue with certain aspects of the book, then I say great (even if I disagree). What I object to is book bashing without backing up that opinion. I've read reviews where somebody ripped a book (and its author) to shreds in an attempt at humor, but never justified why they detested it. To me, that would be a worthless review.

    And there is always a way to be professional even when reviewing a book you hate (I've had to do it twice now and agonized both times. Ideally, reviewers get better at predicting which books are likely to be good for them, and declining to read those they know they'll hate.

  6. Really I'll say: "I didn't like this book very much!!!" But I don't go on and on about how much I detest the book. I just point out in constructive criticism. Like the dialogue felt a bit unrealistic, or the romance was too quickly developed.
    Also I usually never tweet a author about a review. I post the link on twitter, but don't tweet to them about it. I think I would only tweet to a author if I absolutely love,love,love,love the book.
    Though I do send links of the reviews I was ask to review to the author/publisher whether it's good or bad. Because that feels like a required thing to do.