Monday, June 22, 2015

Musing Monday - If You Have Nothing Nice To Say . . .

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by Jenn at A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! This is when we speak about bookish rants or issues, among other things.

For this week's topic, I am asking my readers what you do when you literally have nothing nice to say about a book, especially an ARC.

When I get approved for an ARC, it is expected that I write a review on my blog. That is the deal for being approved for a free book. I have zero problems writing negative reviews. I have done it many times on this blog. I even wrote a blog post about the fact that I feel negative reviews can actually be necessary. But when I write a negative review. I try my best to find something positive to say. 99% of the time, I succeed. I know how much work an author put into their book and I genuinely feel bad if I post a scathing review where I have nothing nice to say.

Several weeks ago, I ran into this problem with a book. I am not going to say the title because it just doesn't matter. But I hated every single thing about this book. I am not exaggerating: I hated EVERYTHING. The plot was not what I thought it would be, I hated every character, there was insta-love and stupid decisions and the ending was ridiculous and added a plot point out of NOWHERE. Thinking about that book still makes me mad. The book was on my Kindle. I actually hated this book so much that I wanted to get a physical copy of it just so I could destroy it. I was mad that it even existed. Ha. Okay, okay. I think you guys get the idea, right? I am sure you guys are wondering why I didn't just DNF it. Yeah, me too. 

When I thought about writing the review on my blog, I hesitated. I just didn't want to seem like a mean spirited person for writing such an awful review. And I just didn't feel comfortable writing a review about an author's work that was filled with such hate. If it had been a regular book that I owned, I probably would have just skipped writing about it at all with no qualms about it. But what to do when the book in question is an ARC?
I decided that I could not in good conscience write a review that was so mean. When I sent in my feedback through NetGalley, I did tell them why I didn't like the book (don't worry, I said it in semi-better terms than I did in the above paragraph). But I also told them that since I didn't like a single thing about the book, I did not feel comfortable posting the review on my blog. I hope I made the right decision.

What do you think? Have you ever read a book that you couldn't find anything positive to say about at all?

26 comments :

  1. I completely agree, Cynthia! I don't think I've ever read a book that I totally despised so my negative (even 1-star) reviews usually have at least something positive in them. That said, I think you handled that very well. It's your blog, and you made the choice that suited you. Excellent post!

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    1. Thank you Jessica! And yes, I have given one star ratings on my blog before but I don't remember ever feeling quite as strongly as this one. It's kind of rare that I couldn't find something positive to say. Thanks so much for the support. :)

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  2. Sometimes it may take a day or two to step away and come up with the right way to express what you didn't like about the book. I've done that at times. It's not often I give out a one or no star review, but if I do, I feel like I should back it up with concrete reasons just as I would for a four or five star review.

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    1. Thank you! Very good points. I think negative reviews are very useful in the blogging community, but I just felt bad for completely tearing it down.

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  3. You did what I do when I do not like a book. I give it a one star rating and tell the published that it just was not a book for me and as a result I will not be reviewing.

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    1. Thanks JC! I am glad I am not the only person who has run into this situation. :)

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  4. I encountered a similar situation recently, with an ARC from Vine...and it was a physical book, so I had no trouble tossing it out afterwards. I mostly skimmed parts of it. It was that bad (IMO). Some people loved it, but others didn't like it. I did have one nice thing to say: there was a lovely setting.

    I wrote the review and pretty much said that while this book might appeal to others, I was not one of them. Harsh?

    One of my blog commenters wrote that I was "brave to post a negative review." Then I felt bad. Should I have been less brave? LOL

    Definitely a dilemma. I try never to request a book for review that isn't from an author I love...when I try a new author, I am often less than thrilled. I need to follow my rules more.

    Here is my MONDAY MUSINGS POST

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    1. Bahahaha. That is funny that you were called brave. I don't necessarily feel brave when I post negative reviews, but I have kind of gotten a comment similar to that before as well. Weird, huh?

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  5. Ah, it is always sad when you really dislike a book that strongly! It happens though, and I've been in your situation a few times! It especially sucks when it's an ARC or galley you've received from a publisher.

    Most of the time, however, I'll still post a review about the book. I highlight SOMETHING that I didn't absolutely hate, and make it so that my review is polite, and ONLY critiquing the work of the author. I think as reviewers it's our job to be honest, but yeah, if you didn't like anything about the book maybe it's better that you did what you did, haha. The publishers certainly couldn't be mad about that!

    Very interesting post, Cynthia! <3

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    1. Thank you so much Aneeqah! I have posted my fair share of negative reviews on this blog, but this was a first for me. Even with as many one star reviews I have given, I can't remember a time when I have felt so strongly about a book.

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  6. I don't know, Cynthia. But here's what I do: when I read a book that has certain (usually high) ratings on Goodreads and I just don't like it, I don't put in any rating at all - so as to not mess up the overall score. I do mention in a couple of sentences that I was underwhelmed, but that's that. On a blog, with an ARC, is much more problematic, of course. You don't want to be responsible for ruining that overall score before the book hits the shelves, which is perfectly understandable and very thoughtful of you. Still, I would appreciate a private line with a warning about this title, lol :D I got tricked a lot lately - gotta learn to read those blurbs!!! A lovely post, as always - it's a pleasure to read them :)

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    1. Thanks so much Ramona! And actually, it looks like it does have a low score on Amazon. So it looks like I was not the only one with issues about it. Normally, I don't have a problem with negative reviews on my blog. I have given my fair share. I just can't remember a time when I have felt this strongly about a book. Even with all the one star ratings I have given, I can usually find something positive to say. I felt bad since this was an ARC. And the book was Beautiful Girl by Fleur Philips. And thank you so much for reading my posts. :)

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  7. That is such a hard one! I agree if it is just a book you picked up who cares. But the ARC angle makes it tricky. You want to be honest but not cruel. I think you handled it well though and I probably would have done the same. Great discussion topic!

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    1. Thanks so much Grace! I do appreciate the support. :)

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  8. Good call. I usually try to find something positive to say too and chances are if I can't then I will have DNF'd it. In those cases I send the feedback on NG, leave a brief review on GR stating it is a DNF but usually don't add them to the blog.

    I also think publishers probably prefer it, if we don't publish those reviews so I really think they'll be happy with your decision.

    There was a slating review once by a famous book reviewer for the London Times where he said the font was nice and the paper was good quality and then proceeded to slate the book! His positives spoke volumes to me :)

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    1. Trish, bahahaha at that reviewer from the London Times. That is hilarious. It shows that he REALLY had to search for something good to say. Thanks so much for the support.

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  9. I think you made a good decision - you definitely needed to submit feedback to Negalley but that being private gives you the opportunity to not post on your blog or on Amazon if you feel your review makes you uncomfortable. I'm that way too though if I interacted with the author or publisher in any way, I feel awkward with my negative review. But if I haven't had any interactions I kind of enjoy ripping a book apart with good reasons on the blog. We can't love them all and it can be good to show what you like or don't like in a book.

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    1. Thanks so much for your support Julie! Good to know others have had to deal with this decision before as well. I feel like I did the right thing for me and my blog. :)

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  10. I feel like that's a pretty appropriate (and nice!) response to a book you don't like! If there's an ARC I don't like, I usually still write a review for it, but I try to be a bit nicer in the way I explain why I don't like it (vs. if I just bought/borrowed the book - which than I might rant muuuuuch more) and maybe try to highlight any part people might like (?? - though it sounded like the book you just read was terrible all around, haha).

    Great discussion, Cynthia!

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    1. Thanks so much for your support Cyn. :)

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  11. To be honest, I understand this post but I don't really agree with it. I think I've posted a scathing review once or twice on my blog lifetime but that's because the book really made me angry.

    I think I'm within my rights to say whatever I want as long as I'm not insulting the author or insulting the book. Saying what I feel doesn't have to equal insulting, right? Just because it's negative doesn't mean it's got an intention to hurt. I've always seen reviews as meant to share opinions and neg reviews are important IMO (:

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    1. You are absolutely right Nova and I completely respect your opinion. I have written a blog post before explaining that negative reviews certainly have their importance in book blogging. It drives me crazy when some people refuse to write ANY negative reviews. Personally, I can appreciate negative reviews because they let me know whether to waste my time (and my money!) on a book. I have written my fair share of one star reviews. Maybe it wasn't just that the book was bad, maybe it was because it made me so angry that it even existed. I really just didn't want to write a post so negative. Thank you so much for your opinion. :)

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  12. This is so tough! I am always torn by this. I DID just do this, less than a week ago actually. I ended up DNFing, but I really hated said book, and I very kindly told the pub why, and then a bit more emphatically (but not meanly) told my readers why. I guess for me, I would REALLY rather know if a book was that bad, so I wanted to show the same courtesy for others? BUT that is a very, very personal choice. I guess everyone has a level for what they're willing to post. Some people won't post ANYTHING negative on one end of the spectrum, and some are willing to tear the book to shreds, and most of us? We fall somewhere in the middle.

    Basically, I think you need to do what makes YOU comfortable. And if you aren't comfortable posting it on your blog, then you don't. But if you did want to, I don't see a problem with that either.

    Also, you are seriously killing me, I NEED to know what this book is. DM me or something ;)

    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

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    1. Shannon, I agree that everyone has a level at which they are comfortable. It does drive me crazy when people refuse to post ANY negative reviews at all. I think negative reviews have their place. I have posted my fair share of negative reviews. I just didn't feel comfortable completely tearing a book to shreds. Like you said, it was just what made me comfortable with my blog. Thanks so much for your opinion and your support. :)

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  13. I totally understand that! I try to say at least ONE nice thing about every book I read because although I might not like it, someone else will. Great discussion :)

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