Chatterbox: Staying True to Your Heart… and Your Ratings

January 4, 2016 by Aila J. | Chatterbox, Features

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I hope everyone had a stupendous holiday season and good luck to you guys heading back to work or school or both! This past break I read a ton of books, and the last book I read for 2015 had me thinking a little bit, which led to this discussion post. The book was the good-not-great type: one that I’d certainly recommend to my friends and may reread once in awhile, but never obsess about. It was a sequel, and I didn’t even like the first book that much. However, I looked back at my rating on the blog and Goodreads and was astounded I gave the previous book a whopping four out of five stars.

If you go by Goodreads’ rating system, that’s a “really liked it” kind of book. If I used that system, that book would have actually been a two stars for an “it was ok.” So why in the world did I give it so many stars?!

I read over the review on my blog and understood. While the list of complaints and criticisms took up 70% of the review, I embellished and emphasized the parts I actually enjoyed, making it seem like they outweighed the bad parts of the book. And why did I do that? To fit in with the majority: that is, everyone else who L-O-V-E-D that book.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person to change his or her rating based on the thoughts of others. But thinking over it now makes it seem so ridiculous. I mean, I didn’t really like the book. Yet I still gave it a pretty high rating – something doesn’t add up there, does it? And when someone asked me about how I liked the book, I’d be like, “Wellll, it was good! Yeah! Although I didn’t like this-this-and-this, it was good.” As I was reading the sequel, I kept telling myself how much I liked it when in fact it was so-so. I mean, it was still a fun book; yet, I did not fall in the section of readers that contribute to the hype over it.

I guess where I’m going at is: Don’t be afraid to be the black sheep. In fact, you’ll even see that people with unpopular opinions may even get heard more. (I mean, they do make up for the majority of top reviews on Goodreads…) Although it may be safer to stay with the crowd (like I tried to do when I started blogging), making yourself “like” a book isn’t worth it. In fact, I kind of love reading negative reviews these days – the more savage, the better.

It was weird with this book because while I enjoyed reading it, there were also many negative aspects that I couldn’t stand. I could see why other people would like it though – it was just one of those not my cup of tea situations. Yet in the beginning of my rating days, I was so easily influenced to actually rate it higher than I believe it deserved.

In the end, it’s so much easier being honest with yourself and the readers of your reviews. You stick with how you see the book, and in turn help readers decide whether or not it would fit their interests. And honestly, I am in awe of the reviewers who do such magnificent rants on the flaws of a book. I mean, they are fearless with their voice and I strive to become like that too.

So this post was a lesson for me, and hopefully something that can help remind you guys too of sticking to what you think, and not becoming influenced by hype surrounding a book. It’s one thing to be let down by hype, but another to let it actually change how you think. Don’t let that change happen – stick to what your own thoughts are, because in the end that’s what makes you, well, you.

Have you ever caught yourself liking or disliking a book because your all your friends think that way? I’d love to hear your own experiences!

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Aila is a young adult reader who loves to transport herself to new dimensions through reading. She's currently an undergraduate student at university in the US. Let's talk about our obsessions on Twitter @aila_1woaa!

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92 responses to “Chatterbox: Staying True to Your Heart… and Your Ratings

  1. Great post, Aila! Rating books honestly is hard for me. I don't have a problem with being the black sheep, but sometimes I rate books higher than I think they should be rated because I feel bad about giving a book a lower rating. I know how much work authors put into their books and I hate giving that work less than three stars, let alone three stars itself. I definitely want to work more on being honest with my ratings without bashing books either.
    My recent post Top Ten Tuesday: 2015 Releases I Meant to Get To, But Didn’t

  2. kumquot

    I definitely have this problem when I receive a book from a publisher and I don't like it :/ I HATE giving bad reviews to books that were given to me. I know I have to be honest and that's what I end up doing, but it makes me feel so mean and ungrateful.

    • I also had that problem when I first began to blog! But in the end, the publishers and audience want your honesty more than anything, so it's good to stay true to yourself. 🙂 (But I tots understand the dilemma!)

    • YAAS Rachel, great goal!! (I love how your recent post is trusting book ratings, lol) Nowadays I find that writing my honest opinoins equate to writing more thorough reviews, too!

  3. Great topic! When I first started blogging I was terrified to rate anything low, so I can definitely relate. Then I read a book I really, really disliked, rated it one star on Goodreads and found some other black sheep that felt the same. We formed a black sheep flock and later took over the world. Well, not quite, but I didn't feel as bad knowing there were other people out there that felt the same, just more quietly so. I do feel a little bad sometimes when all my blogging friends loved a book and I disliked it, so I tend to go a bit easier in my review though.
    My recent post 21 Gifts Ideas for a Bookworm’s 21st

    • BAHAHA Can I join your black sheep flock? *Baaas*

      Yeah, I'm definitely not someone who writes scathing reviews, but they're definitely justified on why I disliked a certain book.

  4. evaallbooksconsidered

    I definitely agree with this post! It is so important to be true to how you feel about a book but I also have second guessed myself in my feelings and ratings of a book based upon the hype, and the pressure and reviews of others. The same goes for liking a book that others don't. I think there can be a bit of peer pressure in our community to have the same opinion as others regarding certain books/authors but everyone is different!!

    Great post!!
    My recent post Conversations With Myself (& Hopefully You): Are Authors Rushing to Publish Too Quickly?

    • I agree, everyone IS different, and that difference shines through various reviews and feelings on books. After all, if everyone thought the same, then no one would be thinking, would they? 🙂 Sometimes it's hard not to second guess myself, but I find that once I sit down, write and analyze my review, then I have a good grasp on a rating for a book.

  5. Oh my goodness, YES! I love this post so much. I think if I don't like a book, I am fine with being a black sheep. BUT here's where I run into trouble: If the book wasn't bad, it just wasn't great, and I can't really pinpoint WHY. I guess I hear so much from everyone else how great it is, and then I had no real reason WHY I didn't love it so… the good thoughts kind of take over? And then I am giving it a vague 3.5 because I don't know what to do with it.

    I think I had a few books back when I was newer that I kind of forced myself to find things to like about. We Were Liars, Falling Into Place.. but now I am cool with hating a book that everyone likes. Or vice versa! Sometimes I LOOOOVE a book that everyone else thinks is complete rubbish but… oh well! Great topic!
    My recent post This Week At Midnight (94-95)

    • Thanks so much Shannon! And that's exactlyyy meee, with the 3.5 ratings. D: I'm always on this fence on if I should be more positive orrr negative in my rating, since I guess it could go both ways.

      LOL sometimes I love a book everyone else dislikes too. 😛 Whatever. As one commenter said, "EMBRACE THE BLACK SHEEP." Baaa.

  6. […] Faye asks where YA Contemporary books where while he was growing up ~ Aila talks about staying true to your heart and your ratings ~ Ashley asks: If you’re a stressed book blogger, why are you doing it? ~ Cait gives us 2016 […]

  7. Happy New Year, Aila!
    I am quite often the opposite of many other bloggers when it comes to likes and dislikes, but that's OK. I tend to enjoy most of the books I read, so my ratings are fairly high on average, but I definitely have several one and two stars to balance things out.
    I have also changed in both what I enjoy, and how I rate and review since I started blogging, and that's all good, too.
    I get why maybe you gave a higher rating to a book than you would have today – especially when you go back and look at your review – but maybe other bloggers ratings weren't the only thing influencing you? Maybe you really figured the good outweighed the bad, even if what you wrote down sounded more negative than positive?
    I really think it's important for us to be honest, though – especially if we think about the fact that the reviews we write are also reminders to ourselves about what we thought of the book.
    My recent post Review: Firsts – Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

    • Happy New Year to you too, Lexxie. 🙂

      You know, that is also a thought! It's so weird to analyze, because if I reread the books now, my views might change yet again. 😛 Either way, I'm not changing my review at this point because at least my points were concise, even if my rating may/may not be.

      You seem to have a great system though! I find that the more I rate/review, the more confident I am in sharing my own, honest thoughts and not everyone else's. And your last statement is so true – I don't want to look back at a review and go like "Was this really what I thought?! Whaaa?" 😛

  8. Charnell

    Yes. I did do this once. Fangirl. I gave it a 3/5 I think, when I really wanted to give it a 1/5. I really didn't enjoy it and I had so many problems with it. But I was the only person I'd seen so far who didn't like it. And I was so nervous to just declare that so loudly. But now I don't care any more. If you have ever read one of my negative reviews then you already know I am not one to skirt around the subject. If I don't like a book, I'm going to state why. I try to just say what I really felt and rate accordingly. But I have fallen into that trap before and it is so easy to do.

    • Omigosh Charnell, it's awesome how you've grown since the Fangirl review, isn't it? I see that in my own ratings too! At this point it's sooo much easier to be honest with my ratings and I find that my reviews end up being more thorough too!

  9. xandraaling

    "the more savage, the better" hahah i LOVE this! i completely agree that there were times i rated a book much higher than what i was actually thinking so i wouldn't be the odd one out. (but in some cases, i actually WANT to rate a book badly. i'm awful, i know.) lovely discussion, aila!! xxx

  10. This is such an incredible discussion Aila, and I completely agree with you 110%. It's so easy and tempting to change your rating so you can fit in with the majority, but honesty is always best. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous post! <3

    • Thanks so much Zoe! <3 Yup, I love reading reviews from opposite ends of the spectrum too. 🙂 Staying true to your opinions just help out your audience in the long run.

  11. Nerdybirdy @ Daydreaming Books

    Yep! I've kinda done this as well, specially in the beginning when I started blogging but not anymore. I mean, we should be true to ourselves and why try hard to like a book if we didn't actually like it, there are no unwritten rules that we have to like that book and everybody including the author loves honest feedbackand people will actually start trusting you when you're honest. Great post Aila!
    My recent post Review: Not Okay, Cupid by Heidi R. Kling

    • Thanks so much Poulami! 😀 And yup, nowadays I'm totally sticking to my gut and not anyone else's opinions. Honest is the best policy, after all. 🙂

  12. Recently, I was tempted because everyone extremely loved an upcoming book and I found a few problems. Eek. Sounds horrid. Admittedly, it's a gorgeous book, nonetheless, but I kept wondering whether to keep my rating how it was or change it higher to appease people. Never do, usually. lollll.

    • Haha, I don't anymore! If there's a few problems, I usually highlight them in my review, then talk about what didn't work, and let the readers see if they would like it for themselves. It's always great to see views from opposite ends of the spectrum, you know?

  13. I have totally given a higher rating because of hype and pressure (eg. my ratings for The Intern and Faking It). But I think most of the time I'm pretty honest with my ratings and reviews, as you know 😀 Usually if the book just wasn't for me but others might like it, I just add a little line at the end saying that I'd still recommend it for others.

    • LMAO I love how you gave those higher ratings yet the author still unfollowed Jeann. (#wetriedtobenice)
      I try to do that too nowadays! Like, I'll maybe add a couple things that worked for me in a book, and then highlight what didn't work to justify my rating. Either way, I find that honest ratings also equate to more thorough reviews.

  14. I'm really curious to see which book it is Aila.

    I'm actually the opposite. I rarely write negative reviews, only because if I'm not enjoying a book, I ditch it. To other readers, it probably looks like I love everything I'm reading, but I choose what to review and what I won't bother with. I can safely say that I've never felt influenced, but I think that comes with being older and more confident in being a black sheep. There's been so many big release books that I absolute hated, Red Rising, Ink and Bone, even Cinder and I couldn't get through the first few chapters of that one. I would hope that no matter our tastes, that we can all have differing options and respect one another for sharing them, even if sometimes we don't agree. Awesome discussion poppet, really enjoyed it <3
    My recent post Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

    • Thanks so much Kelly! <3

      Ooh that is actually a pretty awesome system! (Imagine how much reading I could get done if I had the will to ditch books I don't really like lol. I think I subconsciously enjoy suffering through them. :'))
      When I first began blogging, I definitely tried to fit in with the crowd, especially on GR. But as I became more integrated in the book community, I started finding my voice and wirting more thorough reviews with my honest thoughts. It's really quite liberating! And now I'm not scare of being a black sheep – BRING ON THE COMPLAINTS. >:)

      (The book was Glass Sword hehe.)

  15. keionda

    I most definitely agree with this! When I first started, I was this afraid little newbie (and I still kind of am but pfft) I learned that it's best to just be yourself, and not try to make yourself like something or be a certain way a becaue it's what "everyone else" is doing. My mom has always taught me to be a leader not a follower, and like you said, not everyone is going to like the book so with your review they will be able to relate to more. "NEVER make yourself like a book!" Awesome post chica! <3

    • YES LET'S LEAD AND NOT FOLLOW 😀
      I love that – "NEVER make yourself like a book" – it's perfect, and more people need to remember this statement!

  16. I tend to feel bad if I dislike a book that my bloggy friends liked but I tend to stick to my ratings that means anything under 3 stars is something I didn't like or had massive issues with (in the case of 1 star).

    My ratings usually go with my gut feeling while reading the book, so I might like a book loads and have many many positives but doesn't "feel" like a 5 stars book to me, so it'll have a 4 stars rating… it's a bit complicated to explain and mostly it just makes sense to me! 😉
    My recent post Tell Me Tuesdays #34!!

  17. Grace @ RebelMommyBB

    Such a great discussion! I totally think I have done this both giving higher ratings and then lower ratings too. Not sure of all the reasons. But sometimes I look back and think oh yeah I really liked that one and I gave it only three stars. Or the other way, that it was eh and I gave it 4 stars. I sometimes wonder if time also changes my view. Great post!
    My recent post Top Ten 2016 Bookish and Bloggish Resolutions

    • Thanks so much Grace! I do that allll the time. But as one commenter pointed out, your review for a certain book all depends on the person you were when you read it and the informaion you knew, which could change as time goes on, which would change what you think of the book. XD ahh and it all goes in full circle hehe.

  18. nereyda1003

    I know for a fact that several bloggers uprated their rating for a certain popular NA book that came out in November that they didn't really like because they were afraid of backlash or of being the black sheep since the author is so popular…

    I wish we were all comfortable to just say what we feel about all books, regardless of hype or friendships with authors/publicist.

    Hope this gets better this year 🙂
    My recent post Romancing With Nick (1)

    • Me too Nereyda! That sounds like an NA book I WOULDN'T read, lol.

      As I blog and review more and more, I find it easier to actually say my honest feelings about a book, so maybe it'll come with time. 🙂

  19. I totally get what you're saying. While I've never altered my review to fit in, I've doubted my opinions in light of the waves of shining reviews before. Luckily, I've been able to get over this and own it when I love a book and own it when I dislike a novel. It's what makes us different and helps us find our own readers! It's actually kind of cool to know that there's someone out there who may have the same quirky likes and dislikes as me.
    My recent post 2016 Blog and Reading Plans

    • You took the words right out of my mouth Stephanie! Now that I've embraced being a black sheep (as one commenter put it), it's surprising to see how many other bloggers there are that also didn't like a super-hyped up book. 🙂 Different opinions are so fun to read, I find.

  20. Sometimes, I feel like my ratings should have two standards. Because how can a cheesy romance novel and a literary fiction both get 3 stars from me? I'm not saying that the author of the cheesy romance novel didn't work nearly as hard as the one who wrote the literary fiction, I'm just saying that they are sometimes worlds away in standards. I don't know…
    My recent post Hoarders, Books Edition: Episode 171

    • Omigosh, I totally get you! Like sometimes I'll rate a YA book 4 stars because although I liked it, "it didn't have much action" while I would rate a romance book up to 5 stars even though it was just, ya know, girl/boy drama loool. But I also find that my reviews are quite subjunctive, and it all really depends on how well the book meshes.

  21. Bec Graham

    This happens to me so often! I'll be reviewing a book, starting out with the popular opinion of loving whichever popular book I happen to be reviewing, but as the review unfolds, I find myself remembering everything I hated about the book and so have to go back and change my opening paragraphs. I usually find that I only cement my actual opinion about a book after I've gotten to choosing the star rating. It's fun actually. Like psychoanalysing my own book choices.
    My recent post “Monsters of Men” (Chaos Walking #3) by Patrick Ness

    • That's so awesome Bec! 😀 I find that happening to me too while writing a review. Sometimes you never really know how you feel about a book until you laid everything out and analyzed it, y'know? Or maybe I'm just looking way too deep into everything LOL.

  22. anotherafterthought

    I've been told I'm a harsh reviewer but to that I say: "BUT I'M JUST TRYING TO BE HONESTTTTTT" — and that's what I'll run with.

    The only times I've changed my rating is when I look back and say "yeah…now that I've read x and y, it really doesn't deserve this rating" BUT the caveat is that at the time that you read/rate any book that may have garnered a 4 or 5 stars (or what have you) the basis should be on what you've read up to that point and who you were as a person then. Not putting the precedent on future [better] books or who you're to become in the future. Does that make sense?

    Or just don't listen to me because my Goodreads tells me my average rating is like a 3.00 LOL #rudelife
    My recent post [Review] Truthwitch — Susan Dennard

    • No I totally get you Joey! Another commenter was like "Well maybe you liked that book you rated so high DURING THAT TIME while now you have a different opinion of it." And that also stands true! However, I do know some reviewers who change their ratings after a reread, or finding other information about a book (like there will be a sequel or something). I guess it just depends on the person. 😛

  23. I can definitely relate to this post especially with regards to over-hyped books because I feel like I have to like/love the book. However, since starting my blog I actually feel like I have to go looking for negatives because I feel like some of my reviews are to positive. I only read about 30-40 books a year and the books I read are usually ones that I know I'm going to enjoy so I don't tend to write overly negative reviews.
    My recent post Review: Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

    • I think it's great that you don't write many negative reviews! 😀 Props to you for picking out books you enjoy girl. (It's never a sure thing with me so I end up having the occassional negative review)

  24. Greg

    Great post! I felt that way about the new Star Wars movie- my review was fairly negative but I was afraid to lambaste it too badly because a lot of blog friends loved it, and I didn't want to ruin anyone's mojo. But you have to be honest- and your post is a great reminder of that!
    My recent post Cover Characteristics

    • Thanks so much Greg, and EXACTLY. Sometimes it's hard to let your true feelings shine if it's super different than everyone else's. However, staying honest will be benefical in the long run. 🙂

  25. lekeishathebooknerd

    Great post! I felt like that with ACoTaR last year. I gave it 3 stars, which is still an okay rating, I just did not love it. The MC was stupid and the only reason I kept going was because I loved the world and supporting characters. I'm looking forward to the next one because of those same reasons and I want to see where Maas is going with the series. I can't bite my tongue to fit in with this blogging world. I just will not go there.
    My recent post Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

    • Sooo true Lekeisha. (I will have to agree with you on ACOTAR! Seriously, I loved almost everything except for Feyre 😛 Also if there's a love triangle happening in the next book I'm out LOL)
      But you're right – there's really no need to "fit in" with the blogging crowd.

  26. Bieke

    Great post Aila! I'm always scared of being the black sheep when it comes to hyped books, but I've learned to accept that I can't like all the books ever and sometimes I just end up being a black sheep. That's the way it is. I really try very hard to not let other's opinions influence mine.
    My recent post We’re Back! How Did we Spend the Holidays?

    • Very true Bieke (and thanks!) At this point, I'm just like "Baaa. I'm a black sheep, SO WHAT?" 😀 Since I'm totally honest in my ratings now, I find that reviews can come way easier and are more thorough, which in the end justifies my rating anyway, no matter what other people think.

  27. I think this is why I try and stay away from hyped books. Either I hate it, and feel bad and feel awkward being the black sheep, or I love it and wonder if I really love it or not. It's easy to be influenced by those around you, I think. Especially if you are CLOSE to people who loved it.
    My recent post Review | The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine

    • Yeahh that can be kind awkward lol. At this point, I'm so used to being a black sheep that I say BRING IT. As another commenter said: "EMBRACE THE BLACK SHEEP." XD

      But you're right, sometimes it can be questionable whether I liked something or not. 🙂 Which is why I try to read reviews as objectively as I can.

  28. Elizabeth

    My opinion of a book has never swayed depending on what friends thought of it. I'm very opinionated and a natural leader. However, I just read a book in October of 2015 that made me realize, I was being too lenient with my ratings. The book blew my mind and was absolutely a five stars. But some of the other books I rated five stars, absolutely did not live up or leave me with the same feeling. So I have a strict rating system now and I've stuck with it since. 5- Blew my mind! 4- Really good! 3- Alright/good, probably won't ever reread. 2- OK/Nah. Boring, not enjoying. 1- Hate. Hated so much I maybe DNF.
    I've found that I like the strict rating system. It really gives me a good idea as to where I am on a fondness level. Since then, I've only 5 starred one book and it actually feels great! Being honest with your feelings and reviews is truly the way to go. Don't be influenced by what friends think, or what the author would think if they saw it. I have a friend who is literally afraid of marking a book anything lower than a two in fear that the author will see. It baffles my mind. Be true to your feelings! Great discussion post, sorry for blabbing on and on!
    My recent post Yearly Rewind 2015

    • Don't be sorry Elizabeth – babble all you want!
      Yaas your review system sounds pretty awesome, especially since now you KNOW what kind of book deserves a 5 star in your mind. 🙂 I used to think like your friend, but at this point it's about what *I* think. Since I'm honest in my ratings, I find that it's also easier to right thoughtful reviews that justify such a rating.

  29. Sometimes Goodreads can 'pressurize' us into giving a certain rating. We see all those people who have enjoyed the book and we wonder how they'll react when they see our low rating. I honestly think though that it's important to say your opinion, even if it's a highly unpopular one. After all, it's kind of the job of a reviewer to give honest reviews to books ^^
    My recent post Authors I want to read in 2016

    • Exactly Soudha!
      I remember when I first started Goodreads, I'd more or less follow what the majority of people believed in. And now, as I grow in experience, I realize that some GR reviewers are usualllyyyy too lenient in their reviews (at least compared to mine lmao).

  30. A+ for this post. This is why I don't trust GoodReads reviews. Someone in the comments mentioned the snarky clique of GoodReads but honestly I see just the opposite: fluffed-up ratings and glowing, shallow reviews, as far as the eye can see. (Of course, my snarky heart is then validated when I see a scatching 1-star review of "The Fault in Our Stars" [a book I HATED] be the most popular GR review of that book.)

    This is also why I don't trust blogger book reviews, unless it's someone I've been following a while or can otherwise trust to not be too swayed by hype. (Which means the best way to win my book blogger trust is to be brutally, no-silver-linings negative once in a while. SOMETIMES THERE ARE BAD BOOKS AND IT IS OKAY TO SAY THEY ARE BAD.)

    I think the whole "ARC in exchange for review"/"free copy in exchange for an honest review" writer-in-contact-with-reader model is what's causing this. No one wants to hurt anyone's feelings (or most people don't), so they refrain from writing a 100% honest review and instead do a lot of lying by omission. I think it's great when writers are public personas and interact with their fans, and take criticism from their fans, but there is a difference between someone like William Gibson, Tamora Pierce, or Ursula Vernon and someone who is trying to win fans by giving away free copies of their book left and right and, I dunno, retweeting funny memes once in a while.

    • YES TO YOUR WHOLE COMMENT!

      Especially the last paragraph about the "ARC in exchange for a review copy" – I find reviews like that on Goodreads for SO many books where it's a half-hearted and straining 4-5 stars. And I'm like "how?? It didn't even seem like you liked this book in the first place!"

      When I first started blogging, I fell into that group of people. But after becoming more integrated in the community, I find that stating my honest opinion not only gives out a more thorough review, but can really, really help the your audience in recommendations. Plus, when you're honest about reviews, it's really YOUR voice that shines out, which is what attract people in the first place. 🙂

  31. aubreysbooknook

    YES! And I hate it! Recently I changed my rating system because a) I have read better books now so what was 5 stars a year ago is now probably 3… b) I hate being influenced by hype and other people's opinions. I generally will try to not pay any attention to what other people think of a book because no matter what they say, it might influence me in one way or another. Thanks for the great post! 🙂
    My recent post Discussion: Profanity in Books with Guest Josh from Nocturnal Confessions

  32. samoak

    Great discussion topic! I try to stay close to how I really feel about a book in my reviews. Sometimes this is harder to do, especially when it's a book in an extremely popular series with a rabid fanbase. Mostly because I just do not want to deal with people telling me I didn't "understand" the book or being trolls. I still post a negative review for the title but I will admit to curbing some of my dislike.

    On the flip side, I used to be a little snarkier in my reviews when I first started writing them back in 2004 (before my current blog). I tend to be a little more careful about how I say things now, mostly because I started thinking "if I was talking to the writer, would I really want to say this?" This change was because, as I started reviewing ARC's and realized that the publisher and/or writer might look at my review, I wanted to be honest but offer constructive criticism rather than just bash on the aspect(s) I didn't like. But I still try to be as authentic as I can.
    My recent post 2015 in Review

    • That's exactly what I strive to do! Looking at snarky reviews can be pretty hilarious but if they make ME wince, then it must be pretty bad for the author. It's good to stay classy in negative reviews!

      At this point I'm so done with fanbases lol. If I don't like a book, THE WORLD WILL HEAR. >:D

  33. It’s always makes me sad when I don’t like a book, that all my friends loved. But I think everyone has a right to have and express their own opinion.
    My recent post My new blog

    • So true! It's become easier to express a black sheep opinion for me nowadays, but when I first began blogging, I would always over-analyze what I thought of a book and tried to make it fit into the norm. Now, I EMBRACE the difference. Bring it!

  34. Now I want to know what this book was … haha! Not the point of the post.
    Anyways, I relate to this because this happened to me too when I first started blogging but only the other way around. I used to pretend to hate books and was overly critical and snarky (something that I'm absolutely not IRL) just so I could join the "in crowd" on Goodreads. I've changed of course now and you can definitely tell. I think what really matters is honesty. I don't tend to look at other people's rating, just their reviews and you can always tell (and I mean ALWAYS) when a reviewer is trying to be overly critical or overly nice, trying to exaggerate the good parts of a book.
    Very thought-provoking post, Aila!
    My recent post Audiobook Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

    • Thanks so much Nick!
      After reading so so many reviews this past year, I totally agree on pointing out those reviews where people are super critical or super nice – they tend to be ones that I don't really take recommendations from lol. It's great to see how you changed in reviews, too!

      (The book was Glass Sword lol :P)

  35. Rachel Lightwood

    Yes! I think this is a really important discussion, Aila. I hate having that guilty feeling after reading a much adored book and disliking. Why should I have to love it just because of lot of other people did? I'm my own person, I have opinions that are my own. I hate that those feeling sneak up on me and start influencing my reviews and ratings – it's just not fair.
    My recent post We’re Back! How Did we Spend the Holidays?

    • I totally feel you Rachel. It happens much more often than I wish it did.

      But like I said in the post, it helps to remember that it's not bad to be a black sheep. One commenter said to EMBRACE THE SHEEP and I tots agree. 😛 Staying honest would benefit readers the most too!

  36. YESSSS! This happened recently with The Wrath and the Dawn, and of course the legendary Anna and the French Kiss. It frustrates me that I don't like a book as much as others because of the hype, and it even makes me wary of being hated on because of my negative opinion! But you know what, at the end of the day, people get wary because of the hype and they rely on negative reviews to provide them with a different opinion.

    Although I've read many sassy and ranting reviews about books, I would never go that far because I know that on the other side, there's an author who put blood, sweat and tears into that book and they may read that review. As long as I can mention the negative aspects of a book, in a dignified manner, then it's definitely important to bring those to light.

    • I find that so true Jeann; sometimes negative reviews help more than positive reviews in a way, so readers are more aware of certain problems that they may have with a book. And OMG still can't wait to see what you thought of TWATD!

      Seriously, if scathing reviews make ME wince, it must be ten times worse for authors to read. It's definitely good to stay classy in negative review. B-)

  37. Bec

    I'm always worried going into books my friends have loved or hated because there's part of me that wonders if I'll have the opposite reaction. Which has happened and nothing bad resulted because my friends are amazing and respect everyone's opinion. But anyway, this sort of thing is why I find hype so daunting because there's that expectation that you SHOULD like it, and that expectation can change the way you feel (interestingly for me, it usually ends with me having a lower rating).

    Either way I think the best approach to having opposite opinions to the majority it to EMBRACE THE BLACK SHEEP! I'd rather read an honest review than one that tried to fit in with the majority. Plus everyone perceives all books differently. It'd be so boring if everyone liked the same things.
    My recent post 5 Things about Soundless by Richelle Mead

    • Agree x1000, Bec! Seriously, people don't read reviews to listen to the same things over and over again.

      That's the same with my friends! We all agree to disagree. 😛
      Which is great, because I used to know people (a group) who would try to force their opinions on me, whichhh may be why I was so "influenced" in the beginning of my blogging career. D: Fortunately, I don't talk to them anymore (lmao).

      I WILL EMBRACE THE BLACK SHEEP BEC. *baaas into the sunset*

  38. Happy New Year! 🙂 Great post! I don't really have problems with expressing myself, I've found that I don't often follow the crowd. Trust me it is such a liberating feeling to write a good rant post. 😉

    • Happy New Year to you too Catherine! 😀
      When I first began blogging I was pretty scared to say my honest opinions because of backlash in reviews. But as I became more integrated in the community and grew more experience, I'm sooo done with that stuff! I will rant and rave however I want to at this point lol.

  39. I have done this…but not because of friends! (Usually I'm the black sheep and I don't even care. XD!) But I have done it when I started getting ARCs. I was terrified to send a negative review to a publicist! And tbh my first ever ARC suuuuucked so bad. Gah. So that just made me paranoid that I'd never get more ARCs (I was a really silly little newbie blogger, hehe.) Now I'm just honest and go with it and request less ARCs so I won't have this stress!! But yup. Done this too. ;D It is way more important to be honest, because then your followers trust you and your recommendations so much more!

    • YAY FOR BLACK SHEEPS. *baaaas*
      Omg, I totally feel you on the ARC thing too! When I first started out, I was also pretty scared about not getting other ARC's due to my low ratings. But as I learned more about publishing and the book community in general, I found out that it wasn't that uncommon, which helped.

      So true on the last statement!

  40. Alexa @ Off the Page

    I definitely feel that way. I've done it a couple of times (*ahem* Twilight) and every time I look back and go, "why tho?"

    I know that everyone could like this book or that book and I usually end up going "Eh… It was alright I guess…" and I learned a long time ago that it's just better to go with your gut than to flow with the crowd. I mean there's usually a really good reason why you liked or disliked a book and it's better to stand by what you originally thought than try and tailor it for other people.

    It's about you, man. No one else.

    Plus I come to blogs to see what they think, not what they think other people think.
    My recent post Review: Heir of Fire

    • Agree 110% Alexa! LMAO at your Twilight comment though. That's pretty hilarious.

      But yeah, sometimes I see myself swaying to another star or less because of what a friend said, and then I catch myself and go like, "Yeah but I still didn't really like this lol." And your last statement was perfect! I find that it's kinda redundant to read stellar reviews of hyped books because they're all going to note the same thing anyway.

  41. Josephine

    This is an absolutely great post! Honestly I agree with this 100% because I personally love to see the unpopular opinions of hyped up books or books that have a general all round love from most of its readers. I do find that sometimes my ratings can almost be persuaded by the love of everyone else but I always try to put that out of my mind when I write a review and rate a book!
    My recent post A Fresh Start, A Revival | Spiritual Sunday #1

    • Me too Josie me too. Sometimes it's so hard for me. (Maybe I'm just a go-with-the-crowd kinda girl LMAO) But seriously, as much as it pains me to read negative reviews of books I absolutely adore, it's also interesting to see the flip side.

  42. I actually always end up under-liking hyped books. Like, take the Wrath and the Dawn. Everyone was over the moon for that one, and I liked but but didn't LOVE it. So I emphasised the bits I didn't like in my super-short Goodreads review. But then a few weeks back I went back to that review and realised I only gave it 3 stars?!? It's totally worth at least 4 though.
    My recent post Snazzy Snippets: Share Some Snippets in 2016!

    • Ooh that can happen too! I totally feel you on that one, though. For example, I really really disliked An Ember in the Ashes (le gasp!) #sorrynotsorry.
      Four stars is still pretty good though! :)) I'm glad you thought it was at least four stars hehe. We have a review for this one coming up on the blog soon!