Two Things That Bother Me About Goodreads Reviews

I seem to have a reading theme going on here where all I talk about is books and Goodreads. But honestly, I’ve read a lot this month; at least, I’ve read more this month than I’ve read in years. I suppose if you break it down into 4 books in one month, it would be one book a week, which really isn’t all that spectacular, but it’s better than not reading at all and more than most people have read in their life (can you even imagine?), so I’m good!

One of my favorite things to do after reading a book is go onto Goodreads and read a bunch of reviews. I like different perspectives and how others maybe got things out of the book that I didn’t. Now, this might be really weird, but I find I get more out of the two and three stars then I do out of the four or five stars. Four and five and all you see is the usual great, good, fantastic, couldn’t put it down type of comments. Not always, but most of the time. The lower stars sometimes have more insight into the book and the three stars especially will have a mixture of things they liked and things they didn’t.

The two things that bother me about Goodreads reviews:

One – Why the hell does everyone have to re-write the book? I usually have to skip the first two paragraphs because the review re-states the book. It drives me nuts! We have the snippet only a few seconds away and if you’re on a laptop or a computer, it’s at the top of the damn screen! If I’ve already read the book, I definitely don’t need someone else’s synopsis of it, especially a bunch of them. It annoys me to no end! If you do that, I would kindly ask you to please stop. (Maybe this is required for a review of some kind… I don’t know, I’m not a reviewer, but if it’s standard, why? Can’t we just link to the synopsis or something?)

Two – Why are people so mean? I’m not sure I recognized this one until I decided I liked writing and wanted to put a book out there, but I am definitely noticing it now. That book you just tore to shreds is someone’s work; someone spent hours, days, months, years even, writing that book and it is pretty damn scary to share you work with the world. I know everyone has their own opinion and I’m not trying to say you should only have nice ones, but geez, does it have to be so brutal?

My niece is a published author (L.K. Hill, Liesel K Hill). I went to one of her book signings and bought her newest book when it first came out last year. I was pretty excited to read it, but when all was said and done, I didn’t really like the book all that much. It just wasn’t my thing. There were parts that were good and it was good enough to get me to the end, but I’m not really one for historical fiction; it has to have something else to hook me. Anyway, I ended up giving it three stars and talking about the things I didn’t like in my review on Goodreads. But I wasn’t a jerk about it. At least, I don’t think I was. I just stated my opinion, no “this author is horrible; why the hell does she even write” type of stuff.

My boyfriend was pretty shocked that I only gave it three stars, but I told him I would rather someone be honest about what they thought then lie to me, so that’s what I decided to do. Nothing is perfect and in order to get better, we should embrace criticism and look at how to improve (note to self).Β It wasn’t easy though because she is my family.

But, I think some people go way too far in their negative opinion. How is it helping anyone to be so mean; especially when they make it personal. I don’t know. I guess it kind of makes me rethink my review yesterday, but I don’t think I said anything overtly horrible; just that I don’t like being messed with quite so much and I really want a book to have a better ending than that. It was pretty tame compared to some of the reviews I read this morning.

I realize there might be a fine line because anyone not liking something you write would be very personal to begin with, but I think it can be done in a way that isn’t quite so hurtful.

What do you think?

This post is part of Just Jot It January hosted by Linda G. Hill. (I’m sad we are almost at the end, but proud to say I only missed one day!)

JJJ 2015

22 thoughts on “Two Things That Bother Me About Goodreads Reviews

  1. I agree! I rarely read the reviews of books on goodreads for these reasons. I can’t even imagine being so mean to people who have put something so personal out there. It’s just so rude! Like you said, it’s good to be honest in your reviews but you don’t have to be unnecessarily mean.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to just copy and paste description of book at the beginning of my reviews when I started blogging the books I read a couple of years ago but was advised by more experienced and prolific reviewers to have a brief synopsis in my own words so that the review flowed better and people could tell I read the book to its conclusion. Not everyone reads the books description and I like reading the synopsis by other reviewers to see which plot points stuck out to them; we all seem to read a different book based on our personalities, experiences, sympathies etc. I totally agree that book bashing is uncalled for, if a book is not for you state why and move on to one you do enjoy. That’s my motto anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I stay away from reviews because it is hard for me to tell someone I did not like their way of writing. I know they want to hear the truth, but it is really hard.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I try to strike a balance between what I liked and what I didn’t like about the book. I’ve been told it’s always best to start with something positive to cushion the blow of anything negative, which is probably the best advice I’ve been given. You want to be honest and help give other people an idea of what the book’s about but you don’t want to be mean or rude like you said. Some reviews are pretty scathing and I wonder if the authors ever read them. It would be pretty tough to see that but then they’re probably used to reviews from scathing critics too πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I totally agree. I got a review where someone had only good things to say about the book, but blasted the cover – but without any specifics. Totally confusing, and not helpful at all. (Tell me WHY you didn’t like it, and then I’ll take you seriously.) I think maybe people who aren’t writers don’t realize how impactful their words can be. It’s not an excuse of course; I am of the firm belief that we should speak before we speak/type.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like a VERY brief synopsis of the story, especially if I’m going to address certain elements / themes of the story in my review. It’s a tricky thing though – you don’t want to give away the whole story to someone who hasn’t yet read the book, but you want to generate interest in the story. It’s difficult to write a good review. It’s something I continue to struggle with.

    I don’t like to be ungenerous to writers when I review their work. When I first started reviewing books, I read a book by a new author that I thought, overall, was quite good – but not five star. Still, I liked it enough to give it four stars on Amazon. I mentioned a few (very few) things I didn’t like, but mentioned many things that I did. It was a very gentle review.

    The author later thanked and retweeted all other readers of her book – with the exception of me. So, while the review wasn’t a powder puff review and wasn’t nasty at all, it showed me the author wasn’t keen on less than perfect reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was thinking of reviews that you read after you’ve already read the book, but I realize now the real reason for reviews is to entice others to read it, or stay away depending, so I can see how a brief synopsis is a good thing.

      I prefer honesty and would rather know the truth, but I’m not sure everyone feels that way. I’m sorry you had that experience, especially from what I would call a good review from your description. πŸ˜‰


  7. When I review a book, even if I didn’t like it, I say why (maybe it was just me?) and I always find something positive to say. If I can’t find anything at all positive, I don’t review it.
    I think personal attacks are inherent to the internet… comes with the territory. I’m just waiting for it… πŸ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

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