Let's discuss... Book Reviews that Offend

I don't believe that people should hide how they think, feel, or stand on an issue, but I also think they should be respectful of others and stick to what is being discussed and not take things personally. I have a group of friends who believe all sorts of things differently than I do and I've never felt that meant I couldn't be respectful, kind or their friend. In fact, I love learning why they think or believe the way they do and how I can better understand them. Sometimes we just agree to disagree.

This translates to book reviews as well. I know that reviews are subjective. They're based on the reader's feelings and preferences. I totally went against the trend when I reviewed the Hunger Games series quite a while back because I didn't enjoy it. I know, shocker. I actually like the movies better (except that last one with aliens instead of dogs). I've never written a review with the purpose to offend other readers or the author. In fact, I usually try to be nice about books I don't end up liking, although it can be a tough line to balance.

Have you seen readers get offended by others' reviews or have you been offended by a review?

I've had readers disagree with me before over books or have disagreed with others' reviews, but I've never felt offended or like I offended them. We normally discuss how we disagree on friendly terms, if we discuss it at all, and we stick to the book. I've never had someone say I'm dumb because I don't agree with them.

Then, over the past couple of months, and just recently, I've received a handful of negative comments on a book review on Goodreads for a book I wasn't happy about investing time in because it turned out to be completely different than what I was expecting and also against my sexual preferences. It ended up being a DNF for me. I read a lot and I have a bunch of e-galleys so I get frustrated investing time in something I won't like if a simple label could prevent me from even grabbing it. I've since decided I should have left the rating off, but when I read it, I was in the mood for some romance and then was just completely disappointed. It wasn't the only thing I didn't like about the book—it was just the deal-breaker for me.

Like I said, a simple label on NetGalley would have prevented me from grabbing the book. Any time my expectations are completely thrown out, it takes me a little bit to readjust. Sometimes that's an awesome thing and I end up being happy that a book was nothing like I thought it was going to be. Other times, though, it's just really, really disappointing.

I also tend to stay away from erotica and thrillers because they're not my type of read. At the same time, I don't have issues with other readers loving those genres. I follow bloggers who read some of the same genres I read to those who have vastly different tastes. You should read what you love and whatever works for you!

Now in this case, with this book review, I somehow unknowingly offended some readers. I supposedly offended them so much that the comments turned into labeling me and being unkind about my review just because they didn't like my stance on it. I didn't realize that others would take me not liking a book as me being discriminating regardless if that's quite far from the truth. It makes me sad that they feel like they need to make these types of comments on reviews. It also made me think how I might be more sensitive with my reviews in the future.

So, I want to know... Have you read a book that you ended up not liking because it was different or the ending was so unexpected that you just didn't like it? Have you read a book that you thought everyone loved and you hated and got backlash for? How do you deal with others who get offended by your reviews or so strongly disagree that they aren't real nice about it? Do you do what I do, and just not respond?

Or, on the flip side, have you read reviews that offended you or made you mad? Why did they evoke those kinds of emotions? Was there something the reviewer could have done differently so that the review didn't have that effect?

And can we all agree that reviews are subjective to the reviewer's preferences, beliefs, and moods?

What do you think? I'm open to your guys' thoughts, if you have any. :)

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