Sticky Note

I'm on a blogging break, but will be checking in from time to time. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Faith 'n Fiction Saturdays ~ Reviewing

The past couple of days there has been a big flare-up in the broader book blogging community regarding review policies and a blogger's obligation to an author once they've received a review copy. For those of you who belong to the blogging alliance FIRST, we've also discussed this issue a little bit.

I decided to make today's question about this, because I think this is an even tougher situation for Christian reviewers who review Christian books. So here you receive review copies of Christian books? If so, do you review them honestly? How do you handle it when you don't like a book but are obligated to provide a review? Who do you see your first commitment being to in book reviewing (besides God)? Yourself? The author? Your readers? Does your review change based on the spiritual content of the book or is it solely based on technical or artistic merit? Have you ever had a negative experience with an author after giving them a negative review? (please don't name names)

I do receive review copies of Christian books from a few different sources. I have never felt any kind of obligation to post a completely favorable review of any books I've been sent. But I'm not the kind of person to slam a book or author if I didn't care for what I read. Now, I haven't "hated" anything I've read (so far) but there are some I didn't enjoy as much as others.

I always review them honestly and feel that the point of reviewing a book is to tell what I thought of it. If I were to say I loved every single book, people wouldn't believe me (for good reason!) and wouldn't trust my reviews. Then they would stop reading them. I want to be able to point people to the books they will enjoy and not just give a glossy review to everything.

Instead of bashing a book I try to include what I did and didn't like about it and why. I won't just say what I didn't like; I can always find something positive to add as well. I also know that even though I didn't enjoy it as much, other people may love it so I don't want to give a bad image when really it's just a matter of taste. In those cases I try to say something to the effect of "if you enjoy ____ then you'll like this book."

The spiritual content of the book isn't so much a factor for me (adding: of course as long as it's Scripturally sound). I review based on the entire work. However, I don't care for "preachy" books and if it feels preachy I will state that in my review.

I've never had a negative experience with an author after giving a less-than-glowing review. The only comments authors have left me have been positive (or neutral) ones. I can completely understand pouring yourself into your work and then feeling bummed by a negative review, but I appreciate authors who stay professional in their response.

Check out Faith 'n Fiction Saturdays for more responses to this question! Feel free to join in on the fun and post your response on your blog. Be sure to add your link to the Mr. Linky on Amy's post.


  1. I agree...the point of reviewing is to give your opinion...if you give a positive review to starts to lose the point.

  2. Yes, it helps when the authors can accept criticism.

  3. YES! Email the html to me...I tried to copy it and it came out all weird. :-O

  4. I try to find the good even in a book I don't like, but I also tell why I don't like it. Happy FiF Day!

  5. I think you can almost always find good in a book. I hope I never have to say something like "Great Cover Art!" :) Actually I have read some great books that have had HORRID covers. :) I dislike books that are too preachy as well.

  6. :o) Wonderful thoughts and you are right there is always something good in a book. I liked what you said about preachy books. I feel that same way.


  7. I agree - I think every reviewer should be able to give an honest review. We are each different, and will like different aspects of the book.

    :) Wendi

    I've got mine up late . . .
    is my Faith 'n Fiction Saturday post.

  8. Sorry I'm here late. I'm so enjoying reading everyone's answers. I agree being able to give an honest review is really what it's all about!

  9. I agree about the preachy books. I'd rather have the message delivered in a subtle way. Being honest is important to or the reviews will lose their importance.
    I'm glad that everyone feels that honesty is the best policy. : )