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Also if you're a YA author and are interested in being involved with an Indie August event I'm planning please email me!!

I need books to review and give away! I also want some of you lovely people to interview!!

Char :)

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Why I Write Negative Reviews


So, recently I’ve written negative reviews and had responses that are... unnecessary on Goodreads. Now both of these were indie books and both had a really high overall rating. The most recent happened while I was away and so I didn’t respond and I won’t respond personally because I’m not getting into a petty fight because someone read my review and came to conclusions that never even entered my mind when writing it... However, it got me thinking why do I do this to myself? Why do I put myself out there and review in public? Well this blog post is my answer.

When I started my blog I told myself that I would always be honest. No matter what I thought. Whether the results were positive or negative I’ve happily written down my thoughts, sometimes had a rant, and gone on my merry way to the next book. However, with indie books becoming popular I’ve started to doubt whether negative reviews are the way to go. If you’re a regular visitor to From the Shadows I Review you’ll know my reviewing style. A style that’s still developing and becoming more focused on aspects of the book. I try my best to find positives from every story I read, a review takes me hours to compose and writing a full blown novel I can’t even imagine. Sometimes though, the cons outweigh the pros and it’s with a heavy heart that I tell people that I didn’t like it.

So, why do I write negative reviews?

Simply – because I’m honest. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I liked something I didn’t. Not every review I write will be positive, people who only post positive reviews lose some of their integrity. I feel like they’re denying their readers the full picture of what they do and don’t like when it comes to books. It also feels like they’re just pandering to every author they come across. However, if you really, genuinely like every single book you read I want your secret. Mainly so I can destroy it. If we all enjoy every book how can the author improve?

Are negative reviews the end of the world?

In my opinion no. A negative review has just as much merit as a positive one. There are few things that make me dislike a review, I have examples, I’ll show you some: when the reviewer puts “I loved it!!!!1!!!1111!!!” without giving reasons or “I HATED IT! IT WAS RUBBISH!!!!1!!!” and again refusing to elaborate their point.

A badly edited review, if you’re spelling things wrong constantly or I don’t understand what you’re saying I’m going to question why I’m reading what you’ve put. Type into Word and spell check. Get someone to edit it for you (I’ve been known to do this. Fresh eyes see things you’ve missed.), Blogger also has a spell check function. There are so many ways for you to make sure your work is presentable. If English isn’t your strong point but you love reviewing, I do suggest looking into them.

Anyway I’ve kind of gone off on a tangent (nothing new). What I’m saying is a well written negative review is just as valid. If you point out why you disliked certain aspects of the story and don’t just attack the author personally. If an author isn’t open to receiving constructive criticism then I have to ask why they’re writing in the first place. Not all feedback will have people hailing them as a God. I want people to understand that it’s okay to dislike a book. It’s not okay to insult people.

Would I ever change a review?

Honestly? No, I don’t think so. Writing about the books I read is something I’m passionate about and though I don’t always get a massive amount of people reading my reviews I like knowing that someone has read them and hopefully appreciated them. Something I do is write from the heart. It takes hours and a LOT of backspacing for me to feel happy that my review gets my point across.

Saying that, if an author came to me, horrifically offended at what I had to say and asked me to take it down, I’d try to come to an agreement. I don’t think that an author has the right to censor a reader, just like a reader has no right to attack another reader that doesn’t. If there’s no respecting others opinions is there any point in anyone reviewing at all? (Actually, that’s a darn good question... Wow. I’m on fire with this post!)

In Conclusion

I write negative reviews to be honest , and to give the author feedback. To some degree every review is biased because it’s the reader’s feelings. So if you come up to me saying my review is biased, surely I can say the same about you? A negative review is a necessary evil. No one wants them but they happen. It’s a natural part of the reading world that everyone has to accept. If we all enjoyed the same things book bloggers would be irrelevant... I don’t want to be irrelevant.

So if you didn’t like a novel TELL ME. Don’t pretend you never read it and shove it in a corner and let it collect dust. Take the time to air your frustrations. You never know, someone might agree with you. Even better, the author might actually appreciate what you have to say and take it on board for their next story. We’re a community of book lovers, reviewers & authors, let’s keep it friendly and appreciate what we each have to say.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

***Review*** Mythology (Mythology #1) by Helen Boswell

Hope Gentry doesn’t believe in Fate. Born with an unusual power to see the dark memories of those around her, Hope just wants to be a normal teenager. But on the first day of her senior year of high school, she finds herself irresistibly drawn to a transfer student named Micah Condie. At first glance, Micah seems like a boy that most girls would dream about. But when Hope's powers allow her to discover Micah's darkest secret, she quickly becomes entangled in the lives of mythical entities she never dreamed existed. Was this her destiny all along? And will her powers help her survive the evil of the Demon Impiorum?

Mythology isn’t just for English class anymore.

I’m choosing this because:

I’ve been trying to think of ways to get my blog out there and noticed and something I’ve always wanted to do is promotional stuff. So I signed up to be a tour host for a few people. One of those people was Heather at Supagirl Tours ( and when she sent an email asking for tour hosts for ‘Mythology’ I will admit that I was intrigued. The blurb sounds pretty cool and the title is something I just liked. I don’t need a reason do I? Sometimes you lot just ask too much of me! (I jest! I adore everyone who visits me here!)

Judging a book by its cover:

Now the cover is something I really, really, REALLY like. I mean a lot. It’s so beautifully done. I love how there isn’t much colour but it grabs you in a way that the brightest of colours rarely do, it’s mysterious and every time I look at it I notice something new. Now I admit that my eyes are drawn to the girl on the cover but slowly my eyes are drinking in the background and everything else the cover is offering us. One last thing, the font that ‘Mythology’ is written in is awesome. Really fits the idea of the book that I’ve got from cover and blurb.

Pricing the (possible) awesomeness:

Now, I’m going to do something slightly different, as you all have gathered, I was given a copy for free in exchange for this review but I have links for the book so I thought you could go look for yourselves if you like this enough.

I’ve just noticed that all those links are .com. Hopefully you can get redirected to your own territory. 

Well, my feelings about this aren’t positive I’m afraid. I wanted to like this, the premise is so good and the synopsis sounded amazing but, for me, the execution just didn’t feel right to me. I want to explain why this is but first I want to say this has a sea of good reviews on Goodreads, I kinda feel like I’ve missed something but I promised myself when I started blogging that I’d never lie about a book so this is a negative review.

The pace of the book felt jittery, I’d get drawn in for all action to stop in favour of the romance between Micah & Hope and while that’s nice for some girls for me it was dull! I also thought it was too long. What felt like the end of the book happened at 82% of my copy and then I nearly fell asleep to find what I thought was an unnecessary bit tagged on to the end.

The romance just felt too intense. I mean right from the get go they were always together and Hope was a bit “I need Micah to function” and it felt like a heavy relationship and I don’t want a romance that overwhelms the action.

My biggest issue is also a bit of a spoiler so consider yourself warned: Hope’s rape. It felt like it was only brought up to move the plot along or as a way for the reader to understand that Hope could sympathise with those who had gone through a tough experience. This grates on me so, so much. More than you can understand or I can explain. I didn’t actually see any of the traits of a rape victim there, it just happened. I don’t like that. I can’t actually talk about this aspect of the book any more.

On the positive note, even though I thought the story was too long and jittery I could see where the author was going and what she was doing. The premise of the Demons and the Guardians intrigued me and I definitely liked the whole idea of it. Also the start of the book was so good, I have no issues with that. It really grabs you.

Hope – Not a character I liked much. She wasn’t a whiny girl who did nothing, I just didn’t connect with her. I did like that she wasn’t afraid to stand up for herself and others. I feel that there were chances when we could’ve learnt more about her past and what made her who she is but all but her powers and her parents death were overlooked in my opinion.

Micah – First of all, if you know how to pronounce it tell me!! I spent the first half calling him Me-Ka and the second half calling him My-Ka (I was covering all bases okay?) either way, for a bad boy he was very... ummm... good. I guessed what was going on with him. It was a bit obvious for me from the way a certain character was acting. I think he needs just a tiny bit of bad to be less bland.

Jonathan – Of the main characters he’s my favourite. No doubt about it. He has a sense about him. Just don’t ask me to explain what it is exactly. Although I will say, from the description of him he’s more my type than Micah and I feel he just was a bit awesome. Saying that I figured about him when comes to Hope.

Overall I didn’t like this. I tried, I really did. I just didn’t really connect with the main character and that for me is a big thing. If I can’t appreciate them, then the act of reading their adventure is void.  Saying that, I did read every single page of this. I rarely DNF. I appreciate that this has a lot of good reviews on Goodreads, it just wasn’t for me.

I nearly gave this one star, but it clawed its way back a bit. However, there was just too much that I didn’t like for me to give it more. Although I didn’t enjoy it, I think if you like PNR then this is for you. I just tend to like more action less lovey dovey stuff.

I want to thank Heather at Supagirl Tours for allowing me the chance to review it. And apologies to Helen as this wasn't for me and I feel a bit mean. 


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