We've all been there. You're reading a book and you just can't get into it. Sometimes its so bad that you can't even finish it, other times you finish it, but you just don't like it. It happens, you just can't like everything.
A lot of bloggers/reviewers struggle with this. They seem to be under the impression that if you're asked to review a book, that you have to like it and you have to write a good review.
Lately, I've seen several bloggers on Twitter talking about how they didn't really like whatever books they were reading, but then when the actual review shows up in my reader, its glowing. They loved the book, it was fantastic, and they have nothing bad to say about it. How exactly does that work? I'm aware that opinions change and sometimes books don't get good until midway or the very end, but if that were the case, wouldn't you at least mention that? By not, I see that as being slightly dishonest. When we review, our readers are looking for our honest opinion, whether its an ARC for a writer that's not set to come out for months, a hot new release you just bought, or a tried an true classic that most people have already read.
If you don't like the book, say so! I think the biggest thing that bloggers forget is that sometimes its not what you say, but how you say it. By no means am I saying that if you don't like a book you should just post about how awful it was, how much you hated it, etc. That's where constructive criticism comes into play. The very first review request that I received was honestly not one of my favorite books. It was okay, but not super awesome. I was intimidated when it came to first writing the review, because I wasn't sure how to go about it. I decided to be as honest as possible. I put what I liked, the things that I didn't like, and what might be done differently and made sure to highlight the points to show other readers why they may like the book, while I did not. That's all an author could ask for, right? That gives them exactly what they need to know. And by writing a positive review and you don't feel positively about the book, you're not doing the author favors either.
In fact, most authors, while not happy that there are reviews out there that aren't glowing, would be thankful that you were honest. While talking on Twitter, I got these tweets :