Should Book Bloggers Post “Bad” Book Reviews?

As a writer, when I read a book that I don’t particularly care for, I feel bad giving it a “bad” review. As a writer, I know how hard an author works on their book. I know the blood, sweat, and tears that go into it. I understand how time consuming it is, how much hard work and dedication gets thrown into the book.

Yet, as a book blogger, I’m obligated to be honest – but fair – in my book reviews. Especially if I get the book for free from the author.

So, what do you do when you don’t care too much for a book you read?

Should Book Bloggers Publish Bad Book Reviews? | Book Reviews | Book Bloggers | Reading | Books |

What is a “bad” book review?

To me, giving a book a “bad” review means giving it a 1- or 2-star rating. Of course, everyone’s rating system is different, but I typically go by the Goodreads rating system. To me, a 1 or a 2 means that I didn’t like the book that much and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever given a book a 1-star before, but I know I’ve given a couple books a 2-star rating before. As I said in my intro, I always feel bad doing this because I hate telling something I didn’t like their creative work.

But that just means it wasn’t my cup of coffee.

Not everyone reviews the books they read and book bloggers review books because they truly enjoy reading.

Reviews are super important to authors. It really brings the hype to their books and the feedback is wonderful for them.

Yes, it’s disappointing and disheartening when someone posts a bad review about their work, but you can’t please everyone. We all have different tastes in things, different likes and dislikes. I’ve come across a couple book bloggers who refuse to read books written in first person. It’s all a matter of perspective and opinion.

Should book bloggers published “bad” book reviews?

The short answer? Yes.

The long answer? Yes, because it’s the job of a book blogger and reviewer to be honest and give feedback to the author. The review serves two purposes: it shows potential readers of the book what to expect (if they read reviews before deciding to read the book) and it also gives the author feedback on their writing – what worked in their story and what didn’t.

As I said, you can’t please everyone. One person might have hated the protagonist, but three other people might have loved the protagonist. It’s a matter of opinion and now two people read the same story. It’s all perspective and what the book meant to them.

Remember to be honest, but fair and polite.

Just because you didn’t like it, doesn’t mean other people didn’t either. It also doesn’t mean the author doesn’t have feelings.

Every time I’ve given a book a 2-star rating, I always try to balance the review with the things that didn’t work with me along with things that did work well, but just wasn’t enough to do it for me. I also end the review with a recommendation.

Just because I didn’t like the book, doesn’t mean you won’t. If you thought the summary sounded intriguing to you, give the book a try.

What if you don’t want to give a bad review?

I’ve seen plenty of people say they won’t publish their review if it’s under 3 stars. Most authors prefer to not have the review published because they don’t want any low ratings. I understand that, but I personally don’t think it’s practical because not everyone is going to enjoy your work. It sucks, but it’s true.

So, if you don’t want to give a bad review, let the author know and tell them your feelings on why. There was a book I couldn’t finish one time and I explained why and deleted my free copy. That book wasn’t poorly written, but I couldn’t connect with the characters and the content of the book was pretty heavy on a topic I didn’t care to read about.

With that said, while I still post “bad” reviews, it’s okay to not review the book at all. As long as you email the author, if you got the copy for free from them, and explain to them why giving them your feedback privately, there’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s all up to you.

Some people don’t mind posting bad book reviews and others do. Just like the books themselves, it’s all a matter of opinion and whatever you feel is right.

Do you usually post a review for every book you read, no matter if it’s a high rating or not? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Short Story Sunday 217: Oxygen

Short Story: "Oxygen" | Creative Writing | Flash Fiction |

            Amelia sat in the waiting room. Her body was slumped over one of the hospital chairs. It was cushioned, but was not at all comfortable. Then again, it may have been because she was sitting there for so long.

Her head was bowed down as she felt herself drifting off to sleep. She wouldn’t allow it though. The doctor was going to come out any moment and give her an update on her grandfather. While her eye lids were heavy and they stung every time she blinked, Amelia was not going to rest. Not while her grandfather was in pain and possibly suffering.

Amelia had called her mother, her grandfather’s daughter. She had also contacted her sister and a couple of her cousins. A few never answered the phone and the others were on their way.

It was Amelia’s turn to visit her grandfather. It was her turn to make sure he was comfortable and to keep him company for a little while. And while she knew something like this was going to happen soon, she had never imagined that he would have happened on her watch.

She could now say that she had dialed the emergency number for someone. She could now say that she finally put her CPR class to good use. She could now say that this might be it for her grandfather and she would officially have no more grandparents left.

“Amelia South?”

Amelia shot out of her chair as though she was never half-asleep. She didn’t want to seem too eager, but how else was someone supposed to act in such a situation?

“I’m Dr. Hopper,” a tall man stuck out his hand.

Amelia shook it staring up at him as best she could. Her vision was getting a little blurry though. She didn’t know if tears were forming or if sleep was overcoming her while standing.

“Amelia South, as you know, how do you do?”

“I’m as well as I can be, thank you.” He nodded. “You’re Rusty’s granddaughter?”


“Is there anyone else coming?”

“My mother is on her way. She’s his daughter. I don’t know what’s keeping her though.”

“Okay, well I’ll tell you so you’re not in such suspense anymore.” He cracked a smile.

“Thank you,” Amelia breathed. She didn’t know why he was smiling in such a dire time, but she was going to take that as a good sign.

“Your grandfather is going to be just fine. You can see him in a moment. He had an asthma attack and being 92-years-old, his body had a tough time fighting back.” Dr. Hopper explained.

Now the tears started to come. An asthma attack wasn’t good, but it was better than a lot of other things that could have happened.

“We’ve put him on oxygen and there’s a chance he’ll need to be on that for the rest of his life, but he’ll be able to go home. We’re just going to keep him overnight for observations.”

“Thank you,” Amelia said with a grateful grin.

“You can come see him.” Dr. Hopper took a step back and led the way down the hall.

Amelia trotted after the doctor like an excited puppy. She smiled when she saw her grandfather lying in a hospital bed wearing a gown hooked up to IVs, various wires, and an oxygen tank.

“Grandpa?” she asked.

He turned his head and smiled at her. “Hey, Amelia. Did you hear? My lungs tried to kill me.”

Amelia chuckled as she sat down in a chair beside his bed. “You’re very lucky, you know. If you had just gotten that cold checked out at the doctor’s like we all told you to.”

“Oh, hush. What good would that have done? An asthma attack is an asthma attack. It would have happened sooner or later. Besides, it’s all alright. It’s not my time to go just yet. Don’t you worry about that.” He stretched out his hand and Amelia took it.

A few minutes later, Amelia’s mother came running into the room. She let out a sigh of relief upon seeing the two of them together. She walked over to the bed.

“Dad… How are you?”

“I’m great,” he smiled.

“Well,” Amelia’s mother looked down at her daughter and let out a small chuckle, “That makes one of us anyway.”

They laughed and Amelia’s mother pulled up a chair beside her daughter. Then the three of them sat and talked for a while. After a while, Amelia had forgotten that they were even in the hospital.

Words: 756

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around. Also, check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

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Locomotion By Jacqueline Woodson [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson | Reading | Young Adult | Realistic Fiction | Poetry | Book Blogger |

I bought a paperback copy at Barnes & Noble.


When Lonnie was seven years old, his parents died in a fire. Now he’s eleven, and he still misses them terribly. And he misses his little sister, Lili, who was put into a different foster home because “not a lot of people want boys-not foster boys that ain’t babies.” But Lonnie hasn’t given up. His foster mother, Miss Edna, is growing on him. She’s already raised two sons and she seems to know what makes them tick. And his teacher, Ms. Marcus, is showing him ways to put his jumbled feelings on paper.

Told entirely through Lonnie’s poetry, we see his heartbreak over his lost family, his thoughtful perspective on the world around him, and most of all his love for Lili and his determination to one day put at least half of their family back together. Jacqueline Woodson’s poignant story of love, loss, and hope is lyrically written and enormously accessible.

My Review:

Book Cover |

The cover is sweet and pretty. I like its simplicity, though it doesn’t have much to do with the contents of the book.

First Thoughts |

I’ve read a couple of Jacqueline Woodson’s books before and she’s a great writer. So when I saw this at the bookstore I decided to pick it up.

Plot |

Through poetry written by Lonnie, the protagonist, we learn a lot about what’s going on in his life and the world around him. This is the story of him and how he’s growing through his poetry and overcoming challenges and his past with his little sister and his foster mom.

It’s a sweet story but that’s basically all there is to it. We about Lonnie’s past and how he’s trying to overcome it. It’s a lot of telling through his poetry.

Characters |

There’s only a handful of characters in this story and we see them all through Lonnie’s eyes and what he writes in his poems. Lonnie is an interesting character to follow and I liked his teacher and foster mom. His younger sister played an important role though she wasn’t in it much.

The development is subtle, but it is there for most of these characters.

Writing Style |

This is a book of poems written by the main character in his point of view. They’re easy to read and flow well. The poems range from various styles and definitely work well with the plot. The book itself is short and sweet being only 100 pages. It’s a very quick read to get through.

Overall |

While I wouldn’t peg this as one of my favorite books by Jacqueline Woodson, this was a good read and I enjoyed it. This is certainly worth the read.

Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Ms. Marcus don’t understand some things even though she’s my favorite teacher in the world. Things like my brown, brown arm.” –Jacqueline Woodson, Locomotion

Buy the book:


Read my reviews of Hush and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson!

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around! Also, check out some other Book Reviews I’ve done!

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Sign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging |

Time To Write: A Book [Creative Writing Prompt]

Last week’s writing prompt was a Set the Scene. Check out some great pieces by fellow writers:

Now onto this week’s writing prompt:

Creative Writing Prompt | "A Book" | Object Prompt | Writing | Flash Fiction |

Write a story based on the prompt above.

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below and I’ll share it next week. Please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt!

Happy Writing! If you want more, check out all my other Writing Prompts here!

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How To Decide Your Next Read

Choosing what book you should read next is not easy.

Sometimes you have to be in a certain mood to read a book. Other times you have your next book all picked out but then you go to the bookstore and end up finding something else. There are times you look at the millions of books on your shelves at home you haven’t read, yet you decide to go to the bookstore or library to find something new.

So, how do you typically decide what book you should read next out of all the books you currently own?

How To Decide Your Next Read | Reading | Books |

Ask a friend to pick one for you.

If you’re really unsure of what book you should read next, ask a friend or family member to pick one out for you. Tell them to explore your bookshelf and have them pick one at random. No cheating, either. You have to read whatever they pick out.

Play book bingo or another reading challenge.

Book bingo and other reading challenges are great because they get you to zero in on books you already have. I’m sure you have plenty of unread books with blue covers that you can read and check off a bingo square.

Pick a number out of a hat.

This one may be a bit tedious, but you can count how many books there are on your shelf and then pick a number out of a hat. Then count down which book is that number on your shelf and read that next.

Pick a book out of a hat.

Do the same thing above, but write down the titles and/or authors of books you haven’t read yet.

Read your unread books in alphabetical order.

Start with the letter A and work your way down your TBR pile in alphabetical order. The letters will do the choosing for you.

Reread a book you love.

It’s not exactly reading something new, but if you’re in a slump or just don’t know what to read next, reading an old favorite it sometimes the way to go.

How do you typically pick out your next read? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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WIP Wednesday [June 2018]

We’re already just about halfway through June, which is unbelievable to me. I know I say this a lot, but I feel like 2018 just started, let alone the month of June.

But anyway, here’s what I’ve been working on this month.

WIP Wednesday: June 2018 | Work in Progress | Creative Writing | Blogging |

George Florence & The Perfect Alibi

I’ve been working on rewriting this book, the first in the mystery series. I was hoping this would be my last draft, but I ended up making some major changes to the plot. So I’m going to finish rewriting the draft and go from there.

To have it finished by the end of the month, I’ve been writing about 25 pages a day. So far, it’s been going pretty well.


I’m working on writing the first draft of my next Wattpad story, a fantasy filled with adventure and dragons. I’ve been writing one chapter each day I work on it (which is about three days a week) and so far, I like how it’s turning out. I hope it conveys that way when I publish it.

Special Project

I’ve been working on a brand new project for the past week or so. This is something that will see the light of day, but it’s exclusive to my patrons on Patreon for now. When it does release into the world, my patrons will have exclusive stuff (I’m saying the term “stuff” loosely for now until I decide what it is) to go along with it. So, I’m excited for this one!

What projects are you currently working on? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Should Book Reviewers Get Paid For Their Reviews?

I always say to myself, “I would love to get paid to read.” That would really be the ideal job, right? Sitting on your couch all day with your pet, beverage of choice, snuggled in your pajamas. You can read books upon books upon books. Then get paid to write a review for the books.

As lovely as that would be, who would be paying us? Do we really expect authors to pay for reviews even after giving us a free copy of their book?

Should Book Reviewers Get Paid for Book Reviewing? | Book Reviews | Book Bloggers | Blogging | Reading |

Getting Paid

I’ve seen some book bloggers post disclaimers about how they will never accept any monetary compensation for reviewing books. I’ve also seen some book bloggers offer paid services for their reviews. For example, an author can pay a fee in order to bump their book to the top of the reviewer’s TBR list.

I can certainly see why some book bloggers ask for monetary compensation to review books, though.

Book reviewing isn’t an easy as it seems. Yes, we book bloggers get a book, we read it, and then we write a review on it. It sounds simple, but it’s time-consuming and ironically a lot of work.

Book bloggers take on a lot of books at one time, often not being able to read what they want because they take on so many requests. We love books, so we get in over our heads.

Writing the actual reviews is time-consuming as well. We post it on our blogs, Amazon, Goodreads, and anywhere else. We share the review around for a while after we publish it.

Books are important to us and we know how difficult is it for authors to write and publish these books.

However, because we know how much work this is for authors, I don’t think it makes sense for book bloggers to ask to be paid. They’re already sending us a free copy of their book and authors already don’t get paid that much to begin with.

Am I saying book bloggers don’t work hard enough to get paid? No, absolutely not. Though I just think book reviewing is more a favor to our favorite writers and I think getting a free book in exchange is a good way to do things.


I have seen book bloggers ask for donations though. If they review a book for an author, they accept the free book and review it for free. However, they’ll ask the author if they want to donate to their website or blog in return.

I don’t think this is a bad way of doing things. Bloggers work hard and we put a lot of time and money into our websites. If an author is happy with the way the blogger handled the review process, then asking them to make a simple donation to keep their site up and running so they can add more book reviews, isn’t a bad idea.

Of course, it’s just a donation. People aren’t obligated to pay anything.

Being A Book Blogger

While being a book blogger is a job in itself, it’s fun and I enjoy adding books to my reading list as well as aiding authors out on their writing journey.

It would certainly be nice to get paid to review books because it’d be a fun and easy job, but I like the satisfaction of helping out fellow writers.

What are your thoughts? Do you think book bloggers should get paid to write book reviews? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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