Book Reviews: When is TOO Much?

Hi all! Today I felt a rant was in order.

I’m not particular to ranting on my blog–this is my creative space, not my personal FB account, but I’ve been reviewing books a bit now and I’m wondering about some recent feedback.

See, I think I’m a bit in the middle about book reviews. Some folks get long and gushy, or long and brutal. Some people write a sentence or two. Some add gifs, and memes and get silly, which I do, on occasion. I think it depends how entertaining I wish to be–and also how much time I have.

For me, book reviews are a passion. I write myself, and while I don’t speak much about that each of my reviews is an exercise in improving my writing–and broadening my reading sphere, which helps my writing. Beyond that, I’m a full-time mom with a full house and a full-time job. My eldest son is nearing college while my youngest is still in diapers. My days are roughly 18 hours long, with a commute that lasts only 90 minutes on a low traffic day. Most days I spend about two hours in the car back and forth to work…but I digress.

When I read a book, I like to describe the story in as much detail as possible without “giving it all away.” If it’s going on my blog, I want people to see what struck me, what caused me to share it. If you’ve been in my blog life awhile you know I do blog tours, which are essentially promotions. But, when I don’t like the book, I request a blurb post and cancel the review. This has only happened twice in the past year. Frankly, I won’t recommend a book I didn’t like.

On the flip side, I review a ton more books on Goodreads than I do in this blog. Not everything is going in my blog’s Sacred Space, if you will. Already this year I have read and posted reviews on nearly 100 books in my Goodreads profile. (Click here to find and FRIEND me if you wish.) I’ve got reviews on over 350 books there and will keep on chugging. Some books I loved, others I hated. I even returned two books to Amazon this year because the “Alpha” males were just too misogynistic, too paternalistic, for me.

So, anywho, what began this rant was a message I received on Goodreads from a fellow reviewer who remarked that while she admired how much I enjoyed the book, she feared that my comprehensive review would cause readers to NOT purchase the book.

Lookit, if that’s happened to anyone here, I want to apologize! I also want to know! I’ve had dozens of authors write me, thanking me for sharing my opinions and reviews. And, I’ve had readers write to thank me for recommending a book here that they have read, and loved. I had ONE author ask me to post a spoiler warning. One, in over 350 reviews. Does this mean I never “spoil” a book? Unlikely. But I don’t usually TELL ALL THE STORY. I may allude to the ending, or to a connection, but I rarely get that far.

But, more importantly, does having a “small reveal” of plot ruin a book for the reader? For that matter, does a BIG REVEAL even matter?

***Potential spoilers below:***

Would you have not read CHARLOTTE'S WEB if you knew Charlotte 
(I've read the book half a dozen times now. Still love it. 
And, yes, I still cry.)
Or, would you have avoided HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY 
HALLOWS if you knew Voldemort killed Harry? 
(Because, erm, he did. But, HEA anyhow!)
This summer THE FAULT IN OUR STARS was released in theaters. 
Did that kill book sales? Um, no. And, yet EVERYONE knows 
what happens to Hazel and Augustus. 
(Well, if you don't it's ON FREAKING WIKIPEDIA, in all its 
spoiled glory for goodness sake.)
(Side note: I'm confident that Wiki gets a whole lot more
traffic than, say, my blog. Or, my Goodreads profile...
But, for real, even I wouldn't give the end away!)

I’m conflicted. I want to entertain, to inform, to get the word out for new authors and old faves, but I don’t want to ruin reading for anyone.

As a reviewer, I am THRILLED when people get interested in the books that spoke to me. I hope I have done so–with or without “spoiling.”

I’d love some comments on your experiences with book reviews.

Do you like reviews?
Do you read them?
How does a good/bad/spoiled review affect your choice to read a book?

Thanks all! More reviews coming soon. In the meantime, keep reading my friends! 🙂