Confessions of an Addict [33]: Judge Me Not by the Stars I Gave

Brace yourself.  Gifs ahead.

Once upon a time, I was one of those sanctimonious people who’d been notoriously judgemental of readers who loved every single thing they  read.  Because how is every book that’s ever crossed their shelves of a 5 or a 4 star rating variety? C’est impossible!  But then I got to thinking, if a person is meticulous about their reading preferences, this may not be as impossible as I orginally thought. If they’re very specific about the books they buy, isn’t it possible that there’s an 80% chance they’ll love everything? Or perhaps if they’re not an impulsive book buyer like me,  they might just be better at knowing what to read than I?

So here I am firing back another question.  How can you trust someone who hates everything that she reads? Unfortunately, that’s where I’m at right now. My choices have been nothing but lacklustre than I’m left feeling disillusioned about the books on my shelves. Sometimes, it almost feels like I seek ways to find faults in them, which, of course is not true at all.

It has been a bleak reading stretch. And frankly, I’m getting pretty sick of my self. These 1 and 2 star-ratings do nothing to promote the love of reading. All it does is scare away potential lovers of books that I’ve lambasted on the blog. Okay, maybe lambasted is too strong of a word.

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The thing is, I’ve been trying to diversify my reading choices. I figure if I switch between YA and Adult Fiction intermittently, I’m bound to find that fantastic read that has eluded me as of late. So far, it’s been a bust.

I go by instincts when I’m at the bookstore. I’m always looking to test and expand my reading taste. I can’t be stuck at a certain aisle and peruse the same type of books because I know  it will get boring in no time. So the dictates of how I pick books have been sporadic.

But things had been so dire lately that I’m considering reading some  raunchy Erotica just to spice things up a little. Those that I tend to take pleasure in reading (don’t judge me!), but will  never admit to enjoying.

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And I do. I really, really do. But it’s been a struggle. It’s been depressing, actually. I’m sitting here thinking that all this hatred has to be counterproductive with the very reason I started blogging in the first place. I’m here to promote the love of reading. I’m not here to crush a person’s dream by writing a 500-600 word essay on how much their book sucked. But if I consider credibility and how translating those ire into a blog post have helped keep my sanity, I feel a lessening of guilt.

All I can infer is that I have to do what I have to do to remain honest, and that I can’t help it if I suck at picking good books to read. It’s a trial and error, you see? The risk of what I have to go through in order to broaden my reading horizon.

Though every time I’m near my bookshelf, I can’t help but throw a prayer or a plea.

For the love of God, give me something good to read!

please

Gifs sources: Tumblr | With Her Nose Stuck in a Book | Romance Thread

  • I feel the same! I feel like I’m either too picky or that the books I keep choosing myself are legitimately rubbish. What makes it especially annoying is when everyone else seems to love the book and I’m standing here saying it’s total crap!
    I struggle to believe anyone could really adore every book they read, especially when they spend a lit of time saying the things they really didn’t like about a particular book.
    Though, I must say, I find it waaaay easier to write a review about a book I didn’t like… It’s a wee bit sadistic, but it’s true. Often I find I have nothing much to say about a book I did like, other than YES YES READ IT!

    • Isn’t that the oddest thing? I could spend hours talking about why the book sucked, too, but I’m somehow a bit loss for words with those that I loved.

  • So many things to say to this post. I don’t often read books outside of my preferred genres of choice, and I rarely read books that haven’t been vetted by the blogosphere, that is, there are always quite a few reviews out there for me to gauge my interest. So I am definitely one of those people who likes most of what I read. Looking back on 2014, I have barely any 1-2 star reads and although I rate books 3 stars almost as often as I rate them 4 or 5 stars, 5 stars was my most common rating. And I fear that people won’t take my recommendations seriously because I seem to love everything but I think it is more a product of my careful reading selection. I have been trying to pay more attention to the stars I give and I’ve been giving a few more 2-3 stars lately and more 4 stars (as opposed to 5 stars) so I am going to be paying attention to that come the new year. I see you have a similar struggle but for the opposite reason but I think that comes with being more adventurous in your reading. I probably do miss finding books/genres that I love but I guess I make that sacrifice to love most of what I read. But I never looked to your blog and thought “OMG she hates everything” not once and consider that when you do find that book you love people will give it more weight (than say they would me loving it). But also – people kind of know who their tastes align with. So you are going to have the most impact with people with similar reading tastes. And everyone has others who share in their reading tastes. I feel like I got lost in what I was trying to say… But I wouldn’t worry about it too much, keep being you and do what makes you happy 🙂

  • Oh I feel for you Joy, I’ve been there. Everything I’d picked up was crap, didn’t engage me, bored me senseless, made me angry. I could easily write an in depth list. Those books I never share, I tuck them away onto my Goodreads shelves and pull them out again when I’ve seen a few bloggers who’ve loved it and try again. I tend to rate most of my books highly, as I only buy books that I’m almost positive I’ll love. Books that I’ve loathed, I don’t make it far into the storyline and don’t review them, so it looks like I’m some sort of fanatical 5 star giver.

    Not to sound sadistic, but I love negative reviews. They’re usually much more passionate and give you the ins and outs of what didn’t work. I love the honesty and passion and you’re one of the BEST reviewers out there Joy. Never doubt that, even if your last few reads have been shithouse <3

    • That’s exactly my point: being a fanatic five star reviewer is not a bad thing sometimes. Because we know you’ve got quite a discerning taste. Meaning, you know what you like, and will never bother picking up books that you know you’re going to hate. And it’s not like I purposely pick out unlikable books, it just happens that something about it makes me hate it. It’s something I wouldn’t know until I read the entire thing.

      Thanks so much for the compliment. Coming from you, that’s a HUGE DEAL. <3 *sobs*

  • Aw, I don’t think anyone reading minds the negative reviews! It can get disheartening, though, when you can’t seem to pick up something that you love. I find I get in streaks of books that are just meh. I don’t hate them, but I certainly don’t love them. What normally gets me out of that is finding a book I just know I’m going to love (most of the time it’s in a series i know I love or by a favorite author) and reading that, which gets my enthusiasm back. As enjoyable to read as negative reviews are, I hope you love your next book!

    • Thanks, Rachel. I’m definitely looking at my TBR closely nowadays. I’m just getting sick of reading so many awful books in a row. It gets me down, and people are starting to call me “Debbie Downer”. Lol.

  • I love this post Joy. <3 You are amazing. And I very much agree with you 🙂 Wishing I was able to only read books that I love. But I, like you, have read lots of 1 star books lately.. 🙁 all kinds of depressing. Sigh. But I also love love love reading negative reviews. <3 and yours are awesome 🙂 Thank you for sharing sweetie. <3 wishing you will continue to read sucky books, lol 😀

    • Thanks, C. I’ve also thought about never bothering writing a review for awful books, but that would mean you won’t hear from me for weeks on end if that’s the case. Lol. So yes, I will continue posting reviews, good or bad. <3

  • I’m one of those people who rates books mostly 4 or 5 stars, because I tend to DNF books I really hate. I usually don’t rate those books. Sometimes I write short reviews on Goodreads or if I’m really disappointed I rant on Amazon how I don’t get the hype. I rarely experiment with the books from genres I don’t usually read. It never works well. I hope you’ll find something good to read soon 🙂

    • This year, I’ve only dropped a couple of books. I really do my best to finish a book regardless of how bad it is. I’m a sucker for punishment, I guess. 🙂

  • I don’t think you’re judgmental though. Skeptical perhaps, but not judgmental.

    I feel the same way, but I’m really for those who are very honest in their reviews, because that way you’re saving others from reading a terribly written book. Though reading a negative review doesn’t really stop me from wanting to read the book, it makes me want to read it more to find out why your thoughts were molded that way, but unless I see consecutive low ratings and negative reviews from different reviewers, that’s a red light for me not to read the book anymore, lol.

    Blessie @ Mischievous Reads

    • It’s rare when I enjoy a poorly rated book. If anything, I find a lot of highly rated books that are not really up to my reading standards. So people’s ratings definitely has merits.

  • Reading slumps are kind of miserable, aren’t they? Ratings can be stressful – as bloggers, we stress over how we rate. I’ve been stressed lately for exactly the opposite reason – I feel like I rate a little too high. But I’ve realized that blogging is an extension of our personalities (actually, that’s going to be my discussion post for this week) and I’m a generally optimistic person, and it shows through in my reviews. There just aren’t that many books that I really don’t like. So, I’m not going to shift my ratings to be lower just because. For you, you’re going through a slump and you’re just not enjoying what you’re reading lately – can’t help that. You just have to honestly let us know why. But I do hope that you find some books you love!!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    • The thing is, it’s not necessarily a slump. Because God knows, I’ve been reading more than I have in all the years that I’ve been blogging. It’s just this stretch of awful books have gotten very discouraging. Oh gosh. And if reviewing/blogging is an extension of my personality, that means I’m a miserable wench in person. Lol.

  • I see Gifs!!!! On one of your blog posts?! Welcome to the dark side!!! Hmmm have you tried getting recs off people, or doing a poll for some books currently on your shelf and seeing what comes out on top? I’m in a slump at the minute, but that’s more to do with stuff going on with me than the books I have waiting for me to get to them, I have some excellent reads just waiting patiently for me but I’m not in the mood just now. R x

    • Hahahahah! Not going to be a regular thing. 🙂 Especially on my review posts.

      Thanks, Rachel.

  • It’s important to say what you really think of the books. I do the same and I think it’s the best otherwise how can we know? But don’t worry I love your reviews and I hope you’ll have many wonderful books! By the way it’s “C’est impossible”. LOL for once I can use my French.

    • Ack. Someone corrected me already. Lol. Thanks, Melliane. I feel like a dufus.

  • Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

    Great post. I think being honest is a good thing! I am a little hesitant to put all the bad things in a review and point out the good stuff … unless it really annoys me!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

  • I think you just have to go on reading and remain honest. That’s the way to go. You can’t force yourself to like a book if you really don’t. Or maybe do something else? Like, watch movies or something?

    Also, is this the first time you’ve ever used GIFs? I don’t remember your old posts having them.

    • I never use GIFs. Lol. I don’t use them on reviews, for sure. But if I don’t mind them on discussion posts.

  • Ha — I’m one of those annoying people who doesn’t star. I know that my overall mood affects my reading and my impression of what I read. But I do also feel that I was more positive and accepting when I first started blogging and after reading so many YA books I’ve become more picky and demanding. Plus I think when a genre becomes really popular it does tend to get flooded and quality can go down. Then again, I just read a book by a favorite (non YA) author and I didn’t really like it and I felt cranky…

    Don’t worry — just keep at it…
    Jen @ YA Romantics

    • Sometimes, I think not rating books is a good idea. Because I can get away with criticizing a book without being mean. Lol.

  • I totally understand you Joy! Don’t worry you don’t scare me away 🙂 But anyways, for me blogging has made me better able to pick out books that I know I’ll enjoy. For example, whenever I read reviews and a blogger mentions something I don’t like, I’ll just avoid that book in general. I think this is why I’ve had so many high ratings lately. Maybe you could try something like that?

    Also, THAT FRENCH hahahah. *C’est impossible. Nice try Joy 🙂

    • That’s exactly my point! If a reader knows exactly what they want, it is entirely possible that they’ll love everything.

  • I feel you my friend, I had a little snag a few weeks ago when I stepped out of my comfort zone so I immediate did a detour. I explored super historical fiction (Nefertiti fictional bio), non fiction (Road Less Travelled), down to my trusty PNR. Romantic suspense did the trick and sort of broke my blah streak.

    Now I think I’m sort of in the middle, reading lately has been a struggle and I don’t know if it’s the book, because of my mood, or if it’s me but then again I just read something so awesome and finished it in one afternoon.

    As for the ratings, I do steer clear of haters. I don’t mind 1-2 star reviews as long as it’s objective and not an assassination. On the flip side I’m also wary of people who rates everything 4-5 stars ESPECIALLY the ones that are author/pub requested. Makes me think there’s motive behind their mad gushing.

    Book recommendation: Try some erotica, I know you don’t like Tiffany Reisz, how about Lisa Renee Jones? Her Inside Out series is more erotic suspense than romantica. Or have you read The Morbid & Sultry Tales of Genevieve Clare? It’s my favorite read this year, it’s simply fantastic!

    • I read a couple from Christina Lauren last weekend. I just got tired of resisting. But I know Erotica is a good way to erase the hatred. Lol.

  • hahaha I love all the gifs that you shared in this post Joy. I totally feel for you, as this was me a few months ago, stuck in this vicious cycle of reading really lame books and I hated it. I think that’s one of the reasons I’ve fallen so behind on my ARC’s now as all I tend to do these days is read according to my mood, which really has been all over the place (I had to sneak in a couple of erotica in too). But have you tired reading something from a favourite author? That always helps me, or recently I binge read Laura Florand’s series and that cheered me right up! I hope you find something decent soon *hugs*

    • Duly noted, Jas. 🙂 I’m going to add Laura Florand’s series to my holiday reads. Hopefully, I’ll enjoy them as well.

  • Christy

    Honesty is overrated. Lie to me, baby! Haha – kidding. When I started blogging, I became less picky and started reading books I wasn’t sure I’d even like. I don’t like wasting my time on books that I find mediocre, so I went back to being much more picky. Sure, I grab random books still, because that’s how you find those hidden gems. But I just don’t have the patience to deal with boring. And if I don’t like a book to a certain extent, I don’t feel like writing about it. It’s hard enough for me to write about books I love, so I don’t want to waste time trying to tell people why I thought a book was boring or lame. So on my blog, it’s mostly books I actually really like and WANT to share with people. On goodreads, I might just rate it or say a couple sentences.

    I will say though, when I see a person constantly down on books, negative outweighing positive, I tend to tune their opinion out more. I think either they are just hard to please, take stuff too seriously and just pick them apart, or I wonder why they keep going after books that obviously don’t work for them. But when I can see that they have a balance, I can see what works for them and what doesn’t then yeah, I like to hear what they say – good or bad. I know we all go through ruts and reading funks, where nothing seems to be working, and I think that’s different that the perpetuate Negative Nancy. I’ve also noticed people rate 99% of their stuff with 5 stars, and after awhile, I wonder how they can love all those books THAT much, ya know? I just hate rating books.

    • That’s a bit tough for someone like me. I have a massive TBR, and I don’t like quitting on a book. Sometimes, a book doesn’t show its ugliness (my version of ugliness, that is) until the end (case and point, The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken).

      Honesty and credibility is a big thing for me.

  • Like the others said, I always appreciate honest reviews. I also just had a conversation the other day with a friend, and we were discussing booktubers and book bloggers. I told her that I was noticing that most booktubers (at least the ones that I follow) are always giving books 4 or 5 stars, and a lot of them are given to them by publishers and such. So I’ve started to become a little more suspicious of their recommendations.

    However, I feel that most book bloggers are a lot more critical and that’s something I definitely appreciate!

    Being in a reading slump is quite unpleasant :/. Whenever that happens to me, I’ll either read or watch something that I know I absolutely LOVE. That usually gets me out of my funk :).

    • I read this comment and went and recorded a negative vidblog review!

      • Bahahaha, I wasn’t talking about you silly! 😛
        I am curious about your new review though, I will be eagerly anticipating it :).
        Usually when I find a new Booktuber, I will go through and watch all their Wrap-Up videos, and that’s what gives me a good idea on whether our tastes mesh. And there are some, that always give 4 or 5 stars. But I’ve started branching out and so I’m running into that problem less and less.

      • Looking forward to your vlog!

    • That’s the problem with getting review copies. I always feel bad for not loving it as much. I don’t get too many of those, so the problem is not really persistent.

      I do that, too. I tend to read anything by Melina Marchetta. She’s a great cure for slumps. 🙂

      • I love her!! Finnikin of the Rock is one of my absolute favorites 🙂

        • Woot. Fellow Marchetta fangirl. I adore her! Have you read Jellicoe Road?!

          • Not yet! I still have Looking for Alibrandi, and On The Jellicoe Road to read. I absolutely adored Saving Francesca. I don’t typically read a lot of contemporary, but I know that I will read anything that woman writes (including what she writes for TV… cause I have seen all of Dance Academy :P).

          • Gawd. Are you from Australia? I haven’t seen Dance Academy. But did you hear that she’s got a completed novel in the works? Dying. dying. I read her blog post the other day.

          • Nope! I really want to go though, you know, on the off chance that I can meet her and have her sign all my books :P.
            Ooh I just subscribed to her blog! I’m gonna go stalk her now, haha.

  • I’m one of those readers who gives out 5-Star ratings incredibly rarely. I think I gave out less than fifteen 5-Star reads this entire YEAR. Sometimes, that’s just the way it is, though. You think you’re going to love a book and it’s more of a 3 or 4-Star read than a 5. I think when you’re in a slump of 1 and 2-Star books it’s so hard to get out of that mindset. I always re-read a book I know I’ll love or pick up a title by a romance author I’m sure to at least give 3-Stars to, if only to make myself feel better about reading in general. I hope you pick up some excellent titles soon, dear!

    • Thanks, Keertana. Nowadays, it seems that I find books that are on the extreme ends of the rating scale. I almost wish for a 3 star read, just so I can get out of lambasting a book.

  • Preach, Joy! This post was spot-on. I’m not exactly sure why, but readers tend to trust people who hate everything, compared to people who love everything. I’ll admit–I don’t get swayed to read a book easily if there’s some praise from a person who gives mostly 4-5 stars to books, but when it’s someone who rarely gives those ratings and suddenly gives a book 5 stars, I get intrigued… And I’m totally feeling what you’re feeling now–it seems like I haven’t read a book that really wowed me in a while. 🙁 I’ve tried hopping from genre to genre, but most of my recent reads have been so-so…

    • I totally agree. When a reviewer has discriminating taste, I trust their four and five stars way more.

    • Thanks, Aimee. I actually found a 5 star caliber book last weekend, but it’s a graphic novel. Who cares, right? I tend to trust one a reviewer who’s a bit more discriminatory as well, because then I know that their reads aren’t just mediocre.

  • Ah! You have my sympathies. It’s so frustrating to look for good books and come up empty. I’m not sure I have any tips or advice that would be worthwhile! But I do hope you keep reading and reviewing! And honest reviews are the best reviews. I don’t think they make your love of reading come across as less. If anything, a discriminating taste shows that you have high standards!

    • Thanks, Ellen. It’s so frustrating. I realize that if I complain about the same exact things on my reviews. I also need to be a bit more forgiving, and try not to take everything so freaking personally. Lol.

  • I agree with Ali, that I want to know why a book did not work for a reader. An honest review helps me to choose if the issues would make a difference in picking up the book myself and enjoying since we’re all different. Take hope, that illusive book is out there waiting for you to discover, and all these lacklustre books will make t all more sweeter. 🙂

    • I’m waiting on bated breath. 🙂 thanks for stopping by!

  • Honesty is always the best policy. Okay that was cheesy but I know as a reader I appreciate an honest well thought out review more than I do anything else, whether that be a negative review or a positive one.

    I want to be warned away from those books that are lackluster but I want to know the reasons for the lackluster as well so I can judge for myself if I think those issues would bother me, reader, as well.

    I hope your next read completely blows you away because reading bad book after bad book is just awful and makes picking up the next one so very hard.

    • Thanks, Ali. I did manage to read a few great ones. This past weekend, I read a couple of erotica, one romance, and a graphic novel. They were great, so perhaps the tide is turning. Even though I have a policy for not posting Erotica reviews on my blog, I think it would be a good idea to do so just to tell my readers, that I do find some great reads from time to time. Lol.

  • I know exactly how you feel. A few months back, I kept starting books and then giving up on them about a quarter of the way through. Nothing held my interest at all! Then I asked for FB recommendations and a friend recommended a book that I ended up enjoying. It was a long boring reading streak though.

    • It’s been horrendous. I hate wallowing in disgust. >.<

  • I totally get where you’re coming from, Joy. I’m still, I wouldn’t say judgmental, but rather skeptic when reading reviews of readers whose book rating is always 4 or 5 stars. I don’t get how’s that possible and I probably never will O.O.

    Writing book reviews with low rating is not something I enjoy and lately I’ve been trying to keep those reviews as short as possible, but at the same time I feel that I need to stay true to myself and my feelings and if I didn’t like some book it doesn’t necessary mean that every other reader will share my opinion. There have been some books that my friends didn’t like at all, but I still read them and end up actually liking them and other way around.

    Hope your next read is amazing! xx

    • Yes! That’s the more appropriate word, I think. Skepticism. But I’ve now learned to stop judging readers when all their reads have been a 4 or a 5. I mean, besides the fact that I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, it’s all up to me whether or not I’ll heed their advice on a book. I guess it all depends on whether or not it’s a book that I genuinely would enjoy.

      Thanks, hun! <3