Monday, November 24, 2014

Discussion: When Do you NOT Write a Review?

When you're a bright eyed and brushy-tailed reviewer, you walk into the game thinking "I'M GOING TO WRITE ALL OF THE REVIEWS!" and then you don't. Maybe it's a review copy and you don't have anything to say, or maybe it's the third in a series and you can't review it without spoiling the entire series; either way you find yourself with this:


I usually try to review all the books I read: ARCs, borrowed or bought copies. But I suddenly had a realization. I don't have to review everything that I read. 


I know it sounds obvious, but sometimes we, as bloggers, get so caught up in having our voices heard, that we forget that this is a hobby and that we don't owe anything to anyone. Nope, nada. 


This year, I have three books that I don't think I will review for separate reasons. First there is Wallbanger, which I thought was an enjoyable book, but I couldn't find the words to review it. It suffered from 3-star syndrome, in which I really  had nothing to say, terrible or great. It was just good. I wrestled with this one for a while, but after about three days of staring at a formatted but blank post, I decided "naww." 
Another book that I decided not to review this year was Blood of My Blood. For those who don't know, this is the final installment of the Jasper Dent series. The final book was good, but it wasn't anything that took my breath away. I had a half formed review in my head while I was reading, but once I finished the book, I forgot all the points that I wanted to make.  In the end, I decided not to review this one, because I hadn't formally reviewed books 1 and 2 and didn't know how to randomly review the final installment of this trilogy. 

I read this one about three weeks ago and didn't quite want to review it because I was tired of being negative. I have written a record number of 2-star or 1-star reviews in the month of November, and I just got tired talking about things I didn't like. It would be fine if I had read a phenomenal book after reading The Girl from the Well, but I've just been reading duds. 

Lastly, I've decided not to review novellas.  I love these side stories because 1) they're inexpensive 2) they provide more insight to either the characters or world 3) they're great at keeping you distracted until the next book comes out. Only downside is that they are very short, and I don't know how to even approach a review for a book that's less than 120 pages. So I just read them for fun and give my rating on goodreads. 

It was hard at first, walking away from a book without writing a review, but now I just feel liberated. 



And you? Do you review all the books that you read (or DNF)? Do you feel guilty if you don't review a book? Comment below and continue the conversation! :)




16 comments:

  1. I used to find it so hard to do that but I've walked away from quite a few and even if I wanted to go back, I wouldn't be able to remember anything. I do leave a document for them though, for a rainy day is what I reason to myself. But if I do end up typing anything, it'd most probably be gibberish because who do I kid? I can't remember anything now hahaha I love this discussion, Amber! It's something that most of us suffer from, isn't it?

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    1. At least you have a document for them, that's somewhat productive!

      Is it weird that I feel a little empty when I don't review a book? I think it's because I'm so used to the read-write-blog process that it just feels like second nature.

      But you're right, when you don't know what to you'll, you just have an embarrassing post that says nothing!

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  2. This is still something I struggle with; I feel like I'm wasting an blog post opportunity whenever I skip the review. However, I've learnt that sometimes I just need to let it go for my sanity! I'm with you on novellas, they are just for me.

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads.

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    1. I think that's what bothers me the most, not that I didn't review the book, but that it's an opportunity to have content on my blog (and then I feel behind for some inane reason).

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  3. I definitely felt the same way in the beginning - obligated to read everything that landed on my desk. I still do feel obligated in some ways, but I'm finally comfortable after years of blogging just setting a book aside if it's not working for me:) I found the more I forced myself to read, the less I wanted to blog and that was the exact opposite of what I wanted to happen!

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    1. YES, do what you want! Treat your blog like a hobby, and it'll always be new and exciting; treat it like an obligation and it'll feel like a job you don't particularly like.

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  4. I decided to take it easy on myself this year and read for fun more so I don't write reviews for everything anymore. The meh books are always the hardest to write reviews for.

    It's definitely tougher to keep up with the blog when I spend a week reading things and don't write reviews but I'm having fun reading again so it's a win for me.

    I do write them for the ARC's I request. I've done mini's which help me share the books I love (or hate) without getting bogged down and I almost always post a 2-3 sentence review on GR's so I remember what I thought at the time.

    So basically - if a review hits me afterwards I write it - otherwise I don't worry about it.

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    1. I agree, I can never be honest about a book without feeling some type of way. The "meh" ones are the hardest (well besides the "it-was-good-3-star-books") for me because I feel like it always sound catty, and I don't want to sound like I hated EVERYTHING.

      Minis sound like a smart idea, I may have to incorporate that. My problem is that I always write too damn much! Even when I tell myself that this will be a short review-it's not!

      Thanks for sharing Karen!

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  5. Good post. I just started my blog, but I am feeling obligated to review everything I read. But of course since I just started I am trying to build a collection and history of reviews, if that makes sense.

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    1. Thanks Cynthia! :)

      The one piece of advice I can give you is: don't forget that this is for fun. I started my blog about three years ago, and in the first year I fell for all of the pressures of having a millinon followers and all of the ARCs. It felt like a business. And I grew tired of it and took many unexpected hiatuses.

      Now I just want to talk books and meet new people.

      So basically, do what you want to do Cynthia!

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  6. Love the gifs. I review everything but DNFs. I use different formats. For example a third book may get my Espresso review or one that had issues will get Caffeinated and Decaffeinated Aspects.

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    1. That's smart to use different formats. I've been seeing a lot of "Top Ten" or "Bullet-Point" reviews lately as well!

      Amber Elise @ Du Livre

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  7. I like having general rules and then sometimes mixing things up. I usually don't do DNF reviews, but sometimes I will. I also rarely review novellas, but I just did last week. I just did a list review yesterday. I love mini-reviews if I don't have much to say.

    The good thing about this not being a paid job is that we have a lot of flexibility to do what inspires us :)

    Great post idea! Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

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  8. If I DNF a book I usually won't do a review on my blog. If it was an e-galley from a publisher, I will usually go to the site where I got it and tell them why I didn't finish it, but that is it. I do a review for pretty much every book I finish reading, unless it is a re-read.

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  9. I do try to at least review my review copies (physical copies taking priority) I've only had around 5 review copies for Nov & Dec so I got them out of the way and for that past month I've read nothing but what I want to read. The only problem, I figured out, was that I didn't feel like reviewing them, and since I'm putting up around 2-3 reviews a week, I was running out of reviews, so did start to at least do mini reviews for my books if I haven't got much to say. Or a different style review to what I usually do. But DNF's ahhhhh, this ones hard, I do do reviews for them if I've read half the book, or if it annoys me so much that I have a lot to say (this happened recently with Get Even by Gretchen McNeil, I found it ridiculous and had a full review for the first 13% I do feel guilty when I don't review a review copy, twice I've had (unsolicited) review copies from Penguin that have been in a series, the first was like the 5th book in a series that I am planning on reading once the last books out, and another the 3rd in a series I don't ever plan on reading. So I do feel bad, but I'm telling myself to put it this way. Do you have time to read the first two to read the third as well as read the review copies you've requested? If the answers no, I still feel a little guilty, but less so.

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  10. I try to review everything I read but my DNF gets a post at the end of the year. It's not a review but I just throw it out there that I DNF a book. Those are the only ones I don't review.

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