Soupy Sundays: On Writing Honest Reviews (2)

8:33 PM

Soupy Sundays is a weekly feature at Geeky Chiquitas, where we write discussion posts about our thoughts, feelings and opinions about certain topics.


When Audrey Beryl and I created Geeky Chiquitas, we swore to ourselves to become honest with writing reviews. The beginning was simple. The main reason why we created a book blog in the first place was because we wanted to have an avenue where we could discuss books. It was easy because we weren't trying to live up to anyone's expectations and we were basically nobodies who could talk about anything or anyone without worrying about getting negative feedback.

2 months later, things are now completely different. Factor in ARCs, publishers, authors, book tours and more! Honestly, have you ever written a half-assed review? A review which you wrote simply to please the author because you requested the book and are too embarrassed to give a low rating? A review which you wrote for a blog tour and had to pretend you liked the book enough to give it 3 stars? 

I don't know about you but I am guilty of doing these things, though embarrassed to admit it. Before everything got complicated, I used to write reviews on books that I read and bought for my own viewing pleasure. Because of that, I never had the pressure of pleasing the publisher the author or anyone else. It was so much easier for me to write reviews as honestly as possible, and it was never a problem for me if I was about to give something a really low rating. When we started getting review requests, it felt like a daze. You want US to review your book? It was such a surreal feeling that we accepted every single book and then when we discovered Netgalley and Edelweiss, we started requesting other books too. This was a huge milestone for us, but it had its limitations as well. 

So the question is: do you think it's okay to sugarcoat your reviews because you don't want to offend the author publisher or are part of a blog tour?

Well, the answer for me is... It depends. On what sugarcoating means in this context.

If sugarcoating means using less extreme or hateful words to lessen the blow and not trash talking the book, then it is okay because that's a sign of professionalism. 

If sugarcoating means pretending you liked the book and giving it 4 stars even if it just deserves 2, then the answer is always no.

The more bad books and arcs I read the less I became enthusiastic about book blogging. That's when the half-assed reviews came along. This realization came when I got into a reading slump. A slump that was caused by reading too many bad books and arcs and not wanting to finish them anymore. The solution? I cut back on arcs and started to read books I DID buy and want to read. It got easier after that.

Recently I wrote a 1.5 star review of an arc. And I felt no regrets doing so. When we created this blog, we promised to be honest and sincere in our words. That promise might have gotten lost along the way, but it's a vow we are determined to keep when writing our future reviews. We've had our fair shares of hate messages sent to us by authors who wanted us to give their work a high rating, but I'd much rather stay true to my principles then be a big suck-up.

If you'd like to join our discussion, leave a comment or write your own post and grab our banner up there! :)

Read last week's Soupy Sundays here!

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  1. Totally. Honesty is always the best policy. It's not about pleasing the publisher or the author. I think that as long as you're polite then there's no harm done.

    I have a few rules when I'm reviewing a book. I never say 'I HATE THIS BOOK', because really? Unless it's decidedly 'white power' or has a penchant for flogging small children or something, how can you really HATE a book, you know? There is merit in everything, no matter how small.

    I also work by this rule: If I don't like something, or something doesn't work for me, I have to say WHY.

    It annoys me no end when bloggers say 'I didn't like this character' - yeah, but why? Even if it's as daft as their hair colour, at least give it as a reason!

    Phew. I know how you feel. You can become bogged down in a pile of mediocre ARCs and it can suck the joy out of reading and blogging.

    Authors need to grow a tough skin because they can't please every single reader. We can help this process by providing intelligent feedback so that they don't make the same mistakes twice! Heh.

    Cool post! :D

    1. Yeah it's okay to not like something about a book but you really have to justify it and give your reasons. It's definitely important to be critical and objective when writing reviews, but also very very honest.

      Thanks for your thoughts Sarah! :)

  2. I totally agree with you! I think it's really important to be honest in your reviews or else you'll lose your credibility as a book blogger.

    I must admit though that I tend to rate ARCS higher, or at least try to give them a 3 if they are like a borderline 2.5. I just feel bad giving a low rating to a book I requested to review, you get what I mean?

    1. I do get what you mean. For me though, I don't really adjust the ratings anymore, I just try to write the criticisms much more nicely and also highlight the good things too, so it won't be all just bad. :)


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