I Don’t Fake It

Posted July 24, 2016 | 48 Comments

I’ve been doing this blogging thing for five years and Goodreads for eight, so I’ve noticed a few things.

I know there are numerous discussions out there about negative reviews, but there’s something I’m genuinely curious about. I’ve witnessed this a lot more lately …

There are people who give negative reviews of popular books that act like the people who love them and give high ratings aren’t being honest. Several times now I’ve seen people who wrote negative reviews go on about how people who gave the books high ratings need to be honest with their reviews and not feed lines of bullshit. Or they make condescending remarks about the positive reviews and/or reviewers.

Um, excuse me?

Or the only reason they rate it high is because they must fangirl over the author or received an ARC.

What the hell?

So the only form of honesty is expressing your dislike for something? Now that’s bullshit logic. Just because I don’t go through with spoilers listing every specific thing I like and why, doesn’t mean what I do say isn’t true.

There are so many books I can’t stand that others love, yet I don’t assume those people are being fake. Yeah, there are times I’m totally baffled by the amount of love a book I don’t like gets, but that doesn’t mean I’m the one being honest while they aren’t.

Being the “black sheep” doesn’t mean the person is being any more or any less honest about their feelings than the majority.

Also, I notice how people often commend those who write a negative review for being honest. There isn’t anything wrong with that, but it just seems like  negativity is often correlated with honesty.

Now, I’m not saying there aren’t people who exaggerate their enthusiasm for a book for whatever reason, just as there are some people who write negative/sarcastic reviews for attention.

However, if you want to question my integrity just because we have opposing opinions on a book …

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48 responses to “I Don’t Fake It

  1. Bea

    LOL Love the gif. I’ve noticed these trends and I don’t get them either. Why is negativity equated with honesty? It doesn’t make sense. I don’t find much value in fangirl reviews but that doesn’t make them dishonest. What is it about negative behavior that gets all the attention? smh

    Good post. 🙂

  2. Bwahaha,..your gif response. It is so you! I cringe when I see those comments. Smh. You and I are prime examples of two people who read the same books but occasionally have opposite opinions and yet we also fangirl over similar books. Just because I hate something or you do doesn’t mean the other won’t love it. We all bring a little of ourselves to books so naturally things will affect us differently. Yes, certain authors or series can bring on some fangirling, but I think it must be realized that for that reader there is a connection to the writing that induced the fangirling to begin with. I don’t mind a negative review if they state why and don’t just go off on a verbal tangient dissing the author or fans. Sometimes I wonder why those who write mostly negative reviews and make these kind of asshat comments read at all. They don’t seem to get any enjoyment out of it. LOL

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  3. I couldn’t agree more. I got hate mail a few months ago when I wrote a review for an Anita Blake novel that I loved. Al lot of people don’t like that series anymore but I still love it. But wow, if I post a review, some of the comments are just hateful.

    I also review products that companies send to me for free or for a few dollars. I always put a disclosure at the end of my reviews if I received a product for free or at a discount and people who haven’t even tried the product will comment on my reviews and say how I’m lying about the product if I liked it. But if I don’t like a product I say so. I see no reason to lie about it.

    • Christy

      It sucks when that happens. I don’t understand why people feel the need to accuse someone of lying if they have a different opinion on something like this.

  4. Hmm I haven’t seen those posts about only negative being truthful and honest, Christy. But somehow, I’m not surprised at all. Those people must completely hate me, then – as I have gotten so good at picking out the books I want to read I love most of them. I think my average rating on GR is over 4…
    Just keep on doing what you do! You have your very own fangirls, so who cares about the rest, right? And I love the gif 😀

    • Christy

      I’ve seen the remarks mostly on Goodreads within reviews and comments. I then swiftly avoid those people. lol

  5. What a great post! This is something I’ve wondered about too. I’ve seen comments like “How could this horrible book get such high ratings?” or comments like that. Books are subjective…some people can love a book while others hate it. Nobody is right or wrong, it’s an opinion. Like Lexxie, I’m good at choosing books I want to read and enjoy them for the most part. There have been some really popular books that have done really well, but I didn’t like. I don’t think those that liked it are lying. We just have different opinions.

    • Nathan

      I don’t think people should attack the reviewer just because they disliked or liked a book. Otherwise, why should any body review a book publicly? I agree there is a current trend in which negativity is seen as honest, and while sometimes a negative review either for a book or something outside the book world is needed, it can’t be all that is true. Like Lexxie and yvonne I normally choose books I am going to like or love. I have not yet given any a five star rating, but that is just my opinion. While my ratings are high for the few I have review, it is because I liked them and they are books I like. Someone else could very well have a much different opinion.

  6. BOOM. Love this so much. I feel like I have read reviews and posts like what you are saying, just not recently. I am always honest and generally like most books I read to some degree. I also have no reason not to be honest when I love a book. Also just because someone doesn’t like a book or an author anymore doesn’t mean everyone else doesn’t like them. That person may have just grown out of the author – it happens. I can and will still fangirl over my favorite books no matter what people say. Love the gif 🙂

  7. I’ve noticed some of this too, and it makes me sad. If you have an opinion, share it. Write your own review. But your review should be about the BOOK, NOT about other people’s reviews. Savvy?

    And btw, I LOVE the gif 🙂 Very appropriate for this post!

    Michelle recently posted: Q&A With Kaleena [Beautiful People]
  8. Kim

    Good Gods YES. I’ve seen this happen way too many times and it makes me ragey every single time. There was a post I read last year that offended me on such a deep level that I absolutely refuse to follow this particular blog any longer. It’s fine to have differing opinions about a book. It’s ok to even question “did I read the same book as everyone else?” It’s never ok to question the integrity of the people who do love a book. I don’t kiss anyone’s ass with my reviews. Being accused of it just because I like a book that you don’t? GTFO here.

    Kim recently posted: Monday Musts [27]
  9. Love this post! I often love a book that my friends don’t and vice versus. We all read a book and take away something different from it. I’ve loved a book and gave it a high rating and then went and checked other reviews and seen a lot of negative ones. That doesn’t mean mine was dishonest or theirs was either. we just took away a different experience. And I’ve not enjoyed a book and seen where so many others loved it. In fact I have a review coming up soon that was like that. I guess it just wasn’t a book for me. I didn’t question that they loved it and I didn’t. I did wonder if I’d missed something though. LOL

  10. AMEN, well said. 🙂 I know plenty of people who have loved a book I hated. That doesn’t mean I think their opinion is wrong or they are not honest. Everyone is different and so everyone will like things differently. 🙂 Love the GIF!

    Stormi Johnson recently posted: The Week In Review #98
  11. I wondered a couple of times in the past when the honesty comment would come up why people would fake their reviews, but apparently it’s something that happens quite a bit in the indie blogging community. A friend showed me screenshots that she received from a friend saying how she hated the book, but the friend still gave the book high ratings in fear of retaliation- you know fans attacking the reviewer or the author posting about the bitchy review on their fans page and asking the fans to go after the reviewer. A couple of years ago, I probably would have called BS on that, but when the new SJM released, I saw so many of her fans attack those who didn’t love the book on my feed. It was like a public lynching session and went on for DAYS. And it’s not just authors and fans they are scared of. Nereyda had a publisher blacklist her from their mailing list because of a negative review she wrote for a popular title of theirs … When things like that can happen, I can sort of understand why some people might be faking their reviews. Now, I’m obviously not saying EVERYONE does it because that’s ridiculous, but I don’t think we should disregard that it MIGHT be (or is) happening with certain reviewers. I feel like it would be really easy to tell though when someone is BSing their review or their rating just by reading it though.

    For me personally, I’m 100% sure that the group of bloggers I follow are honest, respectful and speaking from their hearts when they review a book, so I trust their reviews and rely on their reviews for future book purchases.
    The SJM incident just made me realize how intense some fans can get and I wish they would just let it go and don’t give such a darn about why strangers hated it. Seems like a complete waste of time to me!
    Oh and those attention-seeking reviews though … They are so so popular and I just don’t understand why!

  12. Well said! I think I’m fairly good at picking books I’m going to enjoy reading (because I don’t want to waste my time on something I know I won’t like), and that means my opinions of books tends to be more positive than not. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. It doesn’t mean I am being dishonest. Some bloggers only post positive reviews because they would rather not bother writing or sharing about the books they didn’t like. Nothing wrong with that either. It doesn’t mean positive reviews are dishonest.

  13. Love this and agree with everything you say! I like a book or don’t like a book because that’s how I feel about it and for no other reason. I appreciate negative or neutral reviews but that doesn’t mean they’re inherently better than positive reviews. They’re all the same amount of honesty! The funny thing is I start to get anxious if I post too many positive reviews because it feels like I’ll lose some credibility.

    Katherine recently posted: Death at the Day Lily Cafe - Review
    • Christy

      Oh, I don’t care about their opinion of me personally, hence the gif. But it’s the trend of negativity = honesty and the generalizing of positivity as being fake that I find irksome. That can be said outside of the book reviewing community, too.

  14. I have conflicting thoughts on this topic. I talked about this sometime last year about how I always get the ‘thanks for being honest’ comments on my negative reviews, when really, I’m always honest. But…I do get why people say this….
    When a book, especially an arc by a highly coveted book/author has ONLY positive (and by positive I mean 4 or 5 stars) and absolutely no negative reviews and when those positives don’t have ANY constructive criticism, then yes, I start to question the honesty of it. Even books like the Harry Potter series has negative reviews and people that hated it.

    I personally know of people that have not liked certain books but give it a high rating anyway because they are scared of backlash from either authors or their fanbase. Last year I wrote a one star review of November 9 and even by publication date, my review was the ONLY non 4 or 5 review. The author mentioned something on her Facebook about the ‘one star review on N9 and how the reader just didn’t get the book’ and my review got a lot of traffic because of it (my review was the only negative one so it was easy to find). I even had a reader tell me that my rating was wrong and that i shouldn’t have given it such a low rating. Um, no…

    Alo, because of my review, I was removed from that publisher’s mailing list even though I had been reviewing for them for the past 4 years. I also didn’t get a copy of her latest book even though I have gotten an arc of every single one of her other books…which I think was shitty just because I didn’t like ONE of her books. So I can see why readers are also scared of giving a negative reviews if a publisher behaves this way.

    While I don’t think everyone gives false positive reviews, I do think it happens and it’s unfortunate. But I’m with you on the idea that some people think that negative reviews must be the only honest ones… as an honest reviewer, it does get annoying to hear that.

    • Christy

      I totally agree that there are people who bump up their ratings for reasons you stated. I’ve seen it too, and it sucks. Just like I know of people over the years who do the opposite because it gets them more attention. They know they get more buzz and attention because they’re knocking a popular book. The sickening thing is … they’re deemed as being honest just because it’s negative.

      Knowing this, I don’t generalize people who write negative reviews as being dishonest. As I’ve seen done about positive reviews. There will always be those few examples on both sides. It definitely doesn’t help when fans of a book/author attack reviews and/or the reviewer whether it’s positive or negative. That doesn’t mean their opinion for the book isn’t genuine, it just means they’re rude dicks.

      I think when it comes to certain popular authors and highly anticipated books, the first people to read and review them tend to be fans of the work to begin with. There’s a formula and style that works for them, that’s why they keep returning to those authors. So statistically, the book would start out with higher ratings because it’s hitting its target audience first. Then over time, you’ll get more diversity and various levels of ratings. That doesn’t mean those initial positive reviews are dishonest.

      As you said, even HP has negative reviews. The first book in the series has over 4 million ratings and over sixty thousand reviews. Yet the overall rating for the book is 4.42. That means the majority of its readers love it. Would I question their honesty if I hated it? Nope. I just checked N9’s and saw numerous reviews that fall into the negative category. In fact, the most liked review on GR is a one star. Yet, the overall rating is still high. Is the majority being dishonest? I highly doubt it. It just means that those first reviews that loved it had similar taste to the majority who read it. Just like with HP. I think that can go for most popular books/authors.

      And speaking from experience, not everyone is great with words and writing reviews, and sometimes they don’t feel there is any constructive criticism to give. Sometimes it’s difficult to express your feelings, especially when it’s about something that really moves you. On the flipside, there are people who just want to quickly express their like or dislike for a book without really getting into it. There are a multitude of reasons. That doesn’t mean their opinions aren’t authentic.

      Of course, everyone does have the right to feel and question whatever they want. It’s just unfortunate that negativity is getting equated with honesty more often. Outside of the book community too, but that’s a whole different discussion. 😀

  15. Yep! You are so right. I never understood why negative ONLY meant it was honest. I also think that fangirling is a legit response as well. I’ve done it to my fave series more often than I’d admit. 😀 It is fun to see people so excited about a book or a series. Why not? So much is going on a bit of fun is sometimes what we need. 🙂

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  16. Oh I must have missed that. But i get why some might think that because in the end there are many fake reviews out there but those are easy to spot, You know those one paragraph reviews that gives a 5 and they have written no other reviews 😉 But they give the people who truly love books a bad rep

    Everyone should just be honest, whether they love or hate a book, then all is well

    blodeuedd recently posted: Renewed Hope - Rose Fairbanks
  17. Wow. What a thoughtful post. Totally agree with you. I don’t buy into negative reviews just to be negative and vice versa. I try to be fair, and I don’t cave and write positive reviews or negative reviews so I can feel like I am in the crowd.

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  18. I have never felt that others thought I was dishonest, but I have talked about how I avoid hyped books. I wrote a post (lasty year?) about review tour policies and how that perpetuates high ratings even if a reader would have rated it lower. I think there are some who will rate it higher than they really feel just to stay on with popular tour companies. I was even contacted once for a tour I rated the book as three stars on Goodreads (I always rate when I finish, and go add my review after it’s been published on my blog). An agent or someone with the author contacted me asking me why my rating was “so low” and to remove it until after the tour. My review hadn’t even come out! Three is a middle of the road rating! They had NO idea what I was going to say about the book. I didn’t change anything. Just suck it up, buttercup.

    As an afterthought, I do think that affected my relationship with the tour host. I definitely understand the fear of backlash, as we’ve seen such inappropriate and unethical behavior on a few authors’ parts over the years.

    I feel I’m a pretty middle-of-the-road reviewer and hope I never have someone accuse me of “faking” my reviews in any kind of way. I’ve had to work hard at cutting down my reviews and I still struggle with that.

    As book bloggers, we have so many more realistic problems to deal with without making up new ones that are stupid and hurtful. Dudes, what book should I read next? lol

  19. I totally agree! I appreciate the posts that give what they did and did not like a book more than just a fully negative review anyway. But in general, I don’t think that glowing reviews of a book I hated are lying because we all like different things! Heck, I LOVE Harry Potter, as do many others, but if someone says they hate them and has reasons for why they do? That’s THEIR truth.


  20. I haven’t noticed this Christy! Mostly because I stay away from Goodreads which I’m guessing is where most of this is happening. And Twitter. I’ve noticed an increase in Twitter negativity in this community the past couple years which makes me sad. I agree with you completely, I’m honest in both my like and dislike for a book, and though I don’t give the scathing, sarcastic reviews you mentioned, that doesn’t mean my opinion is a result of wanting to please an author or publisher.

    Jenny recently posted: Cathy Reviews: A Trio of Mysteries
  21. Yeah . I definitely think a lot of reviewers write dramatic (often negative ) posts for the attention and they sure get it. :-/

    When I write a less than positive review and someone remarks upon my honesty though, I don’t take that to mean that they felt my other reviews were less than honest…just that they are acknowledging that with potential backlash it’s a bit more gutsy perhaps to share negative thoughts.

  22. I’m with you, as a blogger I have a “spidey” sense when I know I’m being fed BS. I don’t fake it either, I lost favor with a few authors because I’m too “honest” with my opinion about their book. I don’t think I’ll be doing anybody favors if I fake it just to get a freebie. We’re the same bloggy age, we have more books than we can read in a lifetime, getting arcs and such isn’t a big motivator for me at this point.

    Braine Talk Supe recently posted: Shelley Loved: Sun and Moon by Desiree Williams
  23. What a great post & I completely love that GIF! LOL.

    Reading and reviewing is subjective, what one person likes or dislikes someone else may feel the complete opposite; I haven’t come across anyone questioning reviews but tbh I’m not surprised at all that it is happening although it can be disheartening when your sincerity is questioned.

    Sharon – Obsession with Books

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  24. Well said! I think everyone expresses themselves differently and just because someone didn’t like a book or wouldn’t fangirl doesn’t mean others can’t. Or that their review is less honest just because it’s positive. And indeed reading and reviewing is subjective and everyone’s opinion is worth it.

  25. oh I so agree with this!!! I think whether its positive or negative, as long as its honest—then cool beans!! We all are different, and will be picky about certain aspects or love things in a story that others wouldn’t. I think its important to take a step back and realize that just because its positive doesn’t mean that reviewer isn’t being honest. I know that there are some out there that aren’t honest. But I don’t let myself worry about them at all….whats it worth right?

  26. Wow, that is crazy. There have books that have a ton of positive reviews, but I really didn’t like them for whatever reason. I may say that I don’t get why others loved it, but I would never accuse them of being dishonest about it. We all different tastes and even the most popular books have their share of negative reviews. Just because you are a black sheep doesn’t mean the others are being dishonest. I can’t believe people would think that. Crazy. Great post though.

  27. I honestly see both sides to this. I know of and have personally seen, people inflate their reviews of a popular book. So when someone dislikes it, that may be their first thought, especially with the same author or genre. However, I don’t’ think it’s far to say that negativity = honesty and that’s IT. It’s not fair to those that are honest ALL the time, ya know?

    Great topic!

  28. I agree! You do read reviews – particularly on Goodreads – where a handful of folks seem to take particular delight in rubbishing a popular well-regarded book. It may be they have reasonable issues with it – but like you, just because they don’t like it doesn’t equate to honesty, any more than someone who writes an enthusiastic review necessarily is being dishonest. I happen to only read and review books I enjoy – I don’t bother to finish anything I dislike, so I don’t post negative reviews. That doesn’t make me a liar!

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  29. Hrm. Well I think sometimes they’re absolutely right about it. I’ve had multiple readers say oh I rated it higher because it was an ARC. If I’d just been reading it it would have been lower but I didn’t want them to feel bad <—- That is a problem.

    I don't think all 5 star woohoo reviews are fake but I do think a lot of them aren't totally honest and result from street teams and rabid fan girls. And a lot of reviewers are way too easy on review copies because they don't want to rock the boat. I think those are fairly easy to spot, though. Just like people who are being assy just to be assy. They're fairly easy to spot too.

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