The topic of conversation of last weeks #BB101 chat strayed to a few subjects but the one that seemed to ignite the most heated debate was the “I only write positive reviews” stance that some book bloggers take.

“Positive Only” reviewers gave the argument that the only books that they read are books they will enjoy, so therefor they wouldn’t write a negative review, because they like every single book they read.

Much like the analogy that I like Macaroni and Cheese, therefor if I only eat Macaroni and Cheese – I’ll never have a bad meal.

Might make sense on the surface, but if you think about it long enough there is a bit of logical 2 and 2 that doesn’t equal 4. But, we’ll get to that in a second.

Then you have the opposite of the “Positive Reviewer”. This is the reviewer that jumps in feet first for a negative review. A reviewer that knows they will not like a book before they even read it. Let’s say they didn’t like the first in the series, but still read the second one. Or they know they aren’t a fan of the genre, yet still accept a novel in that flavor. Who knows, they could have high hopes. Maybe this is the Western that will change their minds about Westerns, or this book will turn the series around…then I guess you can’t fault them. But, what if they get the book for review, knowing they MOST likely will not like it? A lot of book bloggers stated this was wrong. You shouldn’t enter into a review knowing you’ll hate the book.

Are these reviewers two sides of the same coin? They both entered into the review, knowing the outcome before they even read a word.

Does the negative reviewer make you angry when you think about it?

But, stop there, because this is where my problem comes with both of these stances, the fault with this logic. How does either one of those reviewers know BEFORE hand what they are going to get before they read? How can we fault the negative reviewer and how can we trust the positive reviewer? Because how do they know?

I may love that Mac & Cheese, but that does not mean every “chef” can cook it right. My grandmother happens to add Spam to Mac & Cheese – I don’t particular care for that recipe.

In that same sense, I have read plenty a synopsis, drooled over a cover and then detested the novel when I turned the last page…that is the beauty of a book, you never know what you are going to get. I guess I just don’t understand how anyone can take a look at a book and know basically what they are going to get. In fact, I think I might trust a negative reviewer on this fact a lot more than a positive reviewer — because in a negative sense, at least you know what you don’t like. It’s kind of black and white. I don’t like Mac & Cheese – therefor you won’t like any of it that you taste. Done deal.

I guess, I’m just trying to make sense of the whole thing and this is my outlet. I wonder why people don’t want to voice their opinion. Everyone has an opinion right? Opinions are like…. IQ scores, everyone has one, just some are more notable then others. Tell us what you really think! Make your opinion notable. It can’t all be roses and daisies, can it?? Do you really like everything you read? Can you tell by the synopsis that you are going to LURVE that book? Because, I’ll admit I’ve been fooled. Fooled BIG time. I never know whether I’m going to love, like, lust after, or loathe a book. I don’t know whether I’m going to turn that last page and fling the book across the room in desperation or toss it in the “could care less” pile. IT IS WHY I READ. Surprise me! And I’m sorry, but in this reviewers humble opinion, I don’t think I’m going to trust a reviewer that only has positive reviews. Because frankly, I view it as similar to promotional or Marketing copy. Do you guys feel the same?? Or did I take too much Benedryl this week?

And I must add — don’t think that if you have ten positive reviews to your 1 negative review that you are that “positive reviewer”. There is a reason why publishers are selective. They choose well written books to publish. Most of my reviews are rated 4 out of 5. Which is great. I’ll probably have maybe 1 negative every few months. So, yes, most of your reviews will likely be positive.

That’s my rant – call me out if I’m off, or let me know if you feel the same. I really want to hear your opinion.

And as far as questions go…

I was recently sending out an email requesting a book to review, and I got caught before I’d even gotten into the email.
How should a book request email be addressed? “Dear Ms. Doe”? “Hello Jane Doe”? “Hi Jane”? And how should it be closed? “Sincerely, John Smith”? “Thanks again, John”? “Please doing business with you, JS”? If you use a nickname online (I do) should you introduce yourself by your online name, or by your real name? – Riv Re

A: I treat all inquiries like I would send an introduction letter to a business, if you have a contact name, Dear Contact name. If you don’t have a contact name, TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN.
As a salutation, your real name is always good, maybe in parentheses, your nickname. Something like this:


My name is Rachel and I run the book blog, I would be interested in reviewing your forthcoming title HOT NEW TITLE by Super Author {ISBN 77787012980} if there are review copies available. My blog focuses specifically on books in the genre of Urban Fantasy, so I believe it would be a wonderful promotional outlet. If copies are available, please find my mailing address at the end of this email.

Thank you for your time.

Kind Regards,
Rachel (Parajunkee)

I hope this helps! I can’t guarantee results, I only know it is best to keep it professional, unless you’ve already established a good rapport with the contact, then a more casual approach might be best. 

I can’t get to all the questions, but please ask your BB101 Questions here…