Friday, August 17, 2018

Book Review Pet Peeves



I've got to be honest here. I am all about book reviews. Obviously, I write them--you see them here and on my Goodreads all the time--but I also read them pretty consistently.

Confession...


I go straight to 1& 2 star reviews ALL the time. Maybe that's weird...but I find them to be (at times) hilarious, entertaining, and to sometimes contain nuggets of helpful truth. There have been many that I've read that are complete junk and you can tell they were either written by someone who never read the book or someone who's carrying some sort of odd grudge against books of a certain type or something.

But, there are a few things I can say for a fact that really really bother me when it comes to reviews...


Book Review Pet Peeves


1 or 2 stars with NO review

Um, okay so you clearly hated the book. WHY? Your star rating tells us nothing. I'm much more willing to accept a 4 or 5 star rating without explanation. I'm not sure why that's the case...maybe because a 4 or 5 star rating means "yes, this was good in its entirety" and I can safely assume that the reading was a positive experience and "worth the time" it takes to read a book.

But a 1 or 2 star rating makes me think...what was so bad? Were you having a bad day? Was the writing bad? The plot? The characters? Did you not like the content? Did you like the content but not how it was handled? SO many factors can go into "hating" a book and I'd like to know a bit of why so that I could avoid the book for good reason or pick it up because those things don't tend to bother me.

Spoilers 

This is just a NO.

This doesn't mean that there is no place for spoilers, but their place is after a clearly marked section saying "Attention: Spoilers below" or something like that. None of this tossing out ideas and opinions that give away all of the plot or some such nonsense.

If you have to discuss things that are spoiler-y then mark it or do so in a private group or chat. Be kind, don't spoil 😉 (Yes, that was a nod to this.)

Anger toward the author 

Um, maybe this goes without saying, but a review is not your way of "getting back" at an author. It's not your platform to spread anger or even hate regarding the authors personal views, or even views expressed in their books. Hear me on this: You may disagree with an author about personal/political/religious viewpoints, that's normal. You can even state that in a civil way in your review if it relates to the book. What I don't think is right is when someone uses a review to a) mark down an author's book just because they disagree with the POV and b) expression their "dislike" of that author without having read their book. It's just not okay.

Unfounded/hurtful/unnecessary comments

A little like the one above, but a review is not a personal vendetta against an author. It's also not a way to get back at them for doing things to a character that you didn't approve of.  Sure, be upset and share (in a gracious way) about what you didn't agree with (marking your spoilers where possible of course) but don't ream them for how they decided to write their story. Sorry, but it's not your story - no matter how much you connected with their characters or how many times you said you "shipped" two characters. They get the final call, not you.

*A note here: I think there is a place to point out things that you think didn't work with the plot or a character etc. Perhaps you saw it one way and weren't convinced by what the author did. This is more in regards to getting angry because the love triangle didn't go your way. So you were Team Jacob or Team Gail. Okay. But how was the rest of the story? Do you need to "fight" with the author on this? Probably not, just be a fan for the "one who got away" then. 

More memes/gifs than actual content 




Have I made my point? Oh...I haven't? Right...I need to use words for that.

Okay, too salty I admit, but I really am over people only using gifs or memes to make their points about a book. Maybe this has to do with my next point, but when it's 90% pics and 10% text you don't get a good feel for the readers thoughts on the book. You may get some of it (which is where they do come in handy) but I find reviews chocked full of them to be less helpful because they are usually focused on very specific things and not about the points of the book that made it a worthy read. Usually, it's just how they felt about the hot-ness of a male character or something.

Content is only word-drooling over characters 

We get it. You thought the hunky hero was to die for and you can't stop telling the world. I'm sorry, but that is NOT a review. That is an opinion column. Give us something of substance please!

Reviews by people who have not read the book 

I mean, that ^ should be enough...like, really? Are you really rating a book you haven't read? This is separate than the peeve below in that I've seen actual reviews by people who have either started a book or picked it up and then just decided "Oh, maybe I'll read this later" but they mark it with a star rating. What? How are you rating it? You haven't read it! (To me this is also different than DNF-ing a book).

Rating a book BEFORE it even comes out 

I'm not talking about reading an ARC (Advance Reading Copy) and rating the book, I'm talking about an author's book popping up on Goodreads and suddenly (before review copies are even out) it has star ratings (both good and bad). I'm sorry...you're basically rating the book (something you do after you read a book) before the book is even out.

Don't get me wrong, I get the excitement and am with you, but just mark it as "Want to read" and chill. Also, don't get me started on those who rate books like this but with 1 star ratings. I think that's even WORSE. At that point you know it's just opinion about the author and has nothing to do with the content of a book. That is not a review. That's just mean.

Being mean 

Speaking of mean...I really really really don't like mean reviews. I fully believe you can give a book 1 star and still write a constructive review about it. If you think about it...it was someones dream you're ripping apart.

I know that not everyone is going to like every book, that's totally fine. And you don't have to go around lying about how you felt, but there is a big difference between constructive criticism and harsh critique.

Also, as a side note to this, I tend to dislike reviews that are mean for meanness sake. It's as if the reviewer found that their reviews that cut a book to shreds gained them a lot of exposure so now they just rip every book up. Usually this involves a lot of crass language and belittling of the author. Unnecessary in my book. (Oh...hehe...pun intended?)


What do you think? Do you share any of these pet peeves with me? Is there one I didn't mention that you have? Share in the comments below!