The Problem I Have With Negative Book Reviews

If you’ve hung around here for awhile you’ll notice that some the majority of the reviews posted on my blog are rated 4 or 5 stars. This is not because I’m a loving leprechaun who believes that all books are a pot of gold, but rather because (for awhile) I promised myself not to publish negative reviews.


NO NEGATIVE REVIEWS (kinda crazy, I know).

“But why Kat, why?” I hear you ask.

I HAVE SO MANY REASONS (#lies. I have like, two).

  1. I hated the idea of turning readers away from books.

When I read a review from a blogger I trust and they tell me that a book is horrible I…sometimes take them on their word entirely and just won’t read that book.

(And I know this is bad! I know that trusting someones review with every fibre of your being is like thinking a book is great just because it has a beautiful cover. I KNOW THESE THINGS, but I still (sometimes) trust bloggers entirely.)

Maybe you even trust me (just a little)

And therein lies the problem – I hate that I could turn you away from reading a book just because I didn’t like it. Don’t get me wrong (!) in no way am I saying I have the power to make you read books but the mere possibility that I do terrified me.

2. And the authors.

The books they write are often like children they’ve been helping grow and nurture into strong books with solid spines. So when someone comes over and yells insults at their baby they’re heartbroken, and it’s completely understandable.

No one wants to be told that their child is ugly or that it lacks character.

I don’t like being that person. I don’t like hacking at someone’s novel with an axe, even if I really didn’t like it.

And trust me, I know that reviews are subjective. I know that they’re merely my opinion but for the longest time I couldn’t get myself to post them. Instead, I hid my negative reviews deep within my laptop where no one would ever find them.

This in itself was a problem because I get ARC and review requests all the time and part of accepting these books is, well…reviewing them which means that even if I don’t like a book I have to review it.

So what was I meant to do?

Was I meant to post the negative reviews, even though I kinda cried every time? (I’m so over dramatic. Negative reviews don’t make me cry, I promise.)

Or try and explain to publishers that I cared too much about the authors feelings so I wouldn’t review the book?

*cue frantic devouring of cake*


But if you follow me on Goodreads you’re probably thinking, “Uh, Kat. I’ve read a negative review by you.”



Because after awhile I caved; I began posting them but I HAVE CONDITIONS:

I don’t post negative reviews all willy-nilly on my blog (granted, I don’t post all the reviews of all the books I read on my blog either).

I DO post all my reviews on Goodreads (so If you’re looking for them follow me here).

And I post them all on Amazon too, with no worries.

So, as requested by some of you, there is the reason why you probably won’t find a negative review on my blog.

BUT WHAT DO YOU THINK? Are negative reviews okay? Do you only post positive reviews? Do you hand out 5 stars like I eat cupcakes (that’s a lot). And do authors feelings matter to you or are you as ruthless as they are when they kill off our favourite characters? TELL ME ALL THE THINGS.

9 thoughts on “The Problem I Have With Negative Book Reviews

    Thank you for sharing, Di and welcome to the blogosphere *throws confetti* *gives you celebratory cupcake*
    I totally agree with all your points here – especially about how writers can improve and without criticism they may not.

    I think, for me, I just cared wayyyyyy too much in the beginning. Now, I still keep negative reviews off my blog (but I’m picky with all the reviews I put up here) and I post them all (negative and positive) on Goodreads and Amazon without any worries because, as you said, as long as the review isn’t taking a swipe at the author – go for it.

    And, oh yes- whenever in doubt, be like Cait! Haha.

    Thank you for reading!
    I can’t wait to check out your blog. 😀

  2. This is a great topic and one that makes me feel all funny inside because I am a new blogger and I have issues with negative reviews. I however have chosen to post them.

    I think that constructive criticism is an important type of feedback for an author. If I were to write something and then get published, well firstly you have to realise that not everyone will like your work (just like as a parent not everyone will like your kids). And even though that might mean you want to do all sorts of crazy things to these people that don’t like your kids, err I mean books, you still have to accept that fact.

    Secondly, writing is something that you can get better at – your style matures and you can learn many things from constructive reviews. Emphasis on CONSTRUCTIVE.

    Parenting on the other hand – never ever suggest how someone might become a better parent – that’s just not done (you’re welcome for that piece of free advice).

    So long as the reviewer is not taking a swipe at the author themselves and is truly expressing a professional opinion – I say go for it. Stand by your thoughts and feelings and tell the world. You might feel bad – but then do like Cait @ Paper Fury said in her tweet and “look for other miserable reviews and feel better about yourself”. I think anything is better than leaving a low starred rating and then running without explaining it.

  3. But even when you do post negative reviews they don’t feel negative? They’re JUST SO MUCH FUN TO READ.

    I think (when I was younger) I just worried too much about authors feelings. And this whole approach I had to negative reviews was because I didn’t like seeing readers attacking authors books (you don’t, hence I love your negative reviews just as much as the positive ones…maybe even a little more because they’re super funny!).

    As I’ve grown up though I’ve figured out what you said here and 100% agree with your stance on reviews – they’re for readers not the authors! So, I post negative reviews all over Goodreads. (I swear it’s a book bloodbath over there!) I just can’t seem to post them on my blog? But with that being said I’m super picky about any reviews I do put on my blog.

    And I totally understand what you mean about ‘bookish twins’. There are so many bloggers (you’re one of mine) that if they shriek positively about a fantasy (in particular) I buy it straight away – no questions asked.

  4. I’m actually a big believer in negative reviews! I do agree that it’s hard when you think about the author agh agh hiiiiide me. I do NOT want authors reading my negative reviews at all. Half the time I don’t even want them reading my 4-star reviews because if I even point out tiny negatives I DON’T WNAT THE AUTHOR AROUND TO SEE hahha. This is because I don’t believe authors should be reading their readers’ opinions. It just…too many opinions = you’ll never be able to write to please everyone. BUT I DIGRESS. The reason I actually think negative reviews are important is so bloggers with similar taste to you know what to stay away from! I’ve found several “bookish twins” and like we review stuff sooo similarly that I pay close attention to their loves and hates so I know what to read and what not to waste my time on! And like sometimes I’ll see a reviewer I agree with a lot rate a book super low, buuuut, I wanted to read it anyway. SO I DO. No hard or fast rules for me.
    Anyway, I respect that you don’t want to post negative reviews! Each to their own, right?!? I definitely post a lot of them myself hahaa. Oh dear. (And oh! Nope. I don’t hand out 5stars very often. Although I did read four 5-star books this month which was TERRIFIC.)

  5. I’m so glad that I’m not the only one who feels this way! *sighs in relief*
    At least we can all feel bad together when we do post negative reviews!

    Thank you for reading, Lia!

  6. Yeah I feel the same way! Writing a book is hard, although I’m not a writer myself, and I don’t want to be the one who ruins their accomplishment of having their book published. I do write negative reviews once in a while, but I still feel bad when I do that.

  7. I know-it is SO difficult, especially when you’re a writer and you wouldn’t want anyone hating on your stories!
    But that’s a great tip!
    (And I hope your book writing is going well; I especially like the concept of ‘Golden Revenge’.)

    As for negative reviews I always try mentioning the positives but it’s still difficult. *sigh*

    Thank you for reading!

  8. This is super difficult because I also feel bad posting negative reviews, especially since I’m a writer myself. So if I ever post a negative review, I’ll be sure to mention all the positives too instead of just slamming the author. Great post; a good topic to think about! 🙂

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