ionR: Reading Book Reviews!

Posted April 9th, 2016 by in Blog, Features, ionR / 18 comments

ionR: Reading Book Reviews!


When to Read a Review: Before, After or During a Novel? 

IMG_2036 Today we are taking a break from our more heavier topics that we have been discussing here at HJ to examine when is the best time (if any) that a reader should read a review. We hope that you will once again join us.
As I have previously indicated in similar articles I am a professional book reviewer. The title is a little too fancy for myself. Basically all I do is write reviews for companies (not HJ) and publishers to receive earnings for a number of those reviews written whether or not my opinion is positive or negative. In reality I consider myself to be nothing more than a reader who loves to read and that is why I started reviewing in the first place.
For myself I think reading the opinions of others when grading a novel is a good place to start when discovering a new series or author. We all have our own opinions, we all grade novels differently and as we have learned from the HJ community we all know what we want out of romance novels and their authors. Yet, when is the best time to actually read a review written about a certain novel?
I have done some research this past week to find the correct answer to this question and as you have likely guessed there is no best time to read a review. Yes, that is right there is no right time and the reason is simple, everything is based on the reader as an individual. Now, publishers would likely disagree with me about my statement as reviews are meant to influence readers into reading a new series, new release or a debut author. I for one do not read any reviews until after I finished my own reading of the material. The reason? I grade any novel/author as honestly as possible and do not want any outside influence to broaden my judgement.
Still, what about reading a review before the start of reading something new. Of course! As I just mentioned publishers that I have spoken to would highly encourage readers to do this. Most reviews used by these publishers are meant to excite the reader, comparison to well-know authors that have judge their fellow writers are meant to point the reader into the right direction and of course any review that is written in a positive way is going to inspire the reader to buy the book.
Now, let’s discuss the last bit of the topic and that is-reading a review during the novel. Many of my fellow PR’s do this. Most do it as a break from the reading (usually when the story is beginning to take a nose dive) to see what fellow reviewers are saying. This is meant to uplift the reviewer or the reader into continuing to read the story. Naturally if all the reviews are disagreeable with the author’s writing tone then the decision to not finish the book has be based on those same reviews. To be fair I just want to point out that one should never in my opinion and in my experience in the four years that I have been professional reviewing should you ever stop reading a novel based on someone else’s opinion, unless you absolutely fell you cannot read a single word forward in the book and if that is the case I think it is only fair to state so if plan to write a review for the novel.
In the end and for a large number of readers a person just wants to read without the annoyance of some reviewer telling them what to read. As I have mentioned to my main boss if I want to read a novel I plan to do so regardless of what others say and many readers feel the same way. Reviews are fun, entertaining and I enjoy writing my opinions and sharing it with others, but there is nothing wrong with just wanting to read.
Lastly as I have written at the start of the article it all comes down to you, the reader. These topics are meant to explore what you guys want and how you read a novel because it is YOU, that makes the largest difference in this billion-dollar industry. It isn’t reviewers such as myself, nor the authors, but the readers that do truly have the say.


When do you think is the best time to read a review? Do you read reviews? If so please tell us why or why not you read reviews.


Leone @bookishromantic




18 Responses to “ionR: Reading Book Reviews!”

  1. Maria Rose

    That is a good question! If it’s a book I plan to review myself, I don’t read other people’s reviews before reading the book, as I don’t want my thoughts or words to be influenced by someone else. If it’s a book I’m getting just for my own reading, I will sometimes read reviews that friends have posted prior to reading. I’m definitely more likely to read reviews after reading it myself.

    • Leone (@bookishromantic)

      @Tammy thank you for sharing your thoughts with us today. We do also think that reading book reviews can be fun no matter whether or not we plan to write our own reviews of the material. 🙂

  2. Jennifer Zorko

    That is a really good question. If I am reading a book to review, I don’t generally read the reviews. If I am looking for a new book to read, yes I will read the reviews. If I have read a book for review and have struggled with the book, or did not find the book engaging, I will read the reviews to see if other readers have come to the same conclusion.

  3. JoAn V.

    If it’s a “new to me” author, I will read reviews to see how this book has been received by others; but if the blurb really interests me, I will still read the book. Books by authors that I have a history with and I know that I love their writing, I don’t bother reading reviews.

    • Leone (@bookishromantic)

      Hi Joan! Thank you for bringing up the topic of reading a new author. I think that reviews can certainly point us in the right direction when we are discovering a new author. I also think that it is wonderful that you will read the book regardless of a review based on the blurb! 🙂

  4. Pennie

    I usually do not read a review unless I am struggling through a book. I will then pull up a few reviews to get the “prospective” of other readers but no spoilers and then go back and finish and post my own honest review. I occasionally read other’s reviews after I post my reviews to see if others have the same reaction I have.

  5. Sue

    I actually rarely read reviews because everyone has such a difference of what they like in a book. Sometimes for a new to me author I’ll read a few to see if I can get an idea of the writing style, pov, etc.

    • Leone (@bookishromantic)

      Hello Sue. You are correct that everyone has a different opinion when judging a book, a film or anything in general. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! 🙂

  6. Amy Rickman

    I do read reviews, mainly on Goodreads (trusted people I follow) and blogs I follow. I mostly read reviews on new to me authors trying to find new things to read. I agree everyone has their own opinion.

  7. Kara

    I read reviews sometimes before a book if I want to read it and add it to my tbr! I also read after I finish a book to see what others thought about it, and to get more information about series and such.

    • Leone (@bookishromantic)

      Hey Kara. Review are a great way to learn more info. I’m glad that you mentioned that. We (myself included) as readers sometimes get wrapped up in all the opinions that we forget that reviews can also educate us in the long run! 🙂

  8. Banana cake

    I mostly read reviews on blogs like HJ. If I read a review I don’t worry that they may give spoilers. I like to read reviews on blogs because it is a great way to find new authors to read. I try to post a review on goodreads whenever I read a book.

  9. belindaegreen

    I know that reviews on some sites are what determines the fee structure and position. However, I do know that some reviews are contrived…good and bad! Knowing this, I naturally view reviews with some skepticism. I usually only read reviews after the fact. In some cases if it’s a new to me author, I’ll read a few reviews just to see which way the crowd is leaning. However, this in no way sways my decision to read a book. If I like the topic, blurb, & the cover, I’m reading the book. Everyone has opinions and are entitled to them but I tend to make my own decisions about most things.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share.

    Belinda G

    • Leone (@bookishromantic)

      Hi Belinda! I have to agree with you that some reviews can be more damaging than good. I personally dislike any review that bashes the author. In my opinion reviews should be helpful, but I am very happy to have read that you base the decision to read on your own thoughts regarding the book! 😉

  10. kermitsgirl

    I read reviews prior to reading a book specifically on HJ and almost nowhere else. I find Amazon reviews to generally be dishonest, Goodreads is kind of hard to slog through sometimes, and I just happened to stumble upon HJ as my go-to for book reviews. I use the reviews on HJ to find new reads, but if it is a poor review of a book I’ve already decided to read, I don’t let that influence me.

    I have noticed that even on HJ, there are certain reviewers I can trust more than others, so I’m more likely to read a book they’ve reviewed at 4 stars and pass on a 5-star reviewed book from another reviewer. Having each review tagged by the person who wrote it is super helpful.

    I will also read reviews on a book if I hit a low point where I want to mark it DNF, to see if it gets better, or if I think the plot is heading in a direction that I consider absolutely unacceptable (such as some of these “non-traditional” fake romances that have tricked me into reading them).

    I do tend to skim reviews after I complete a book, but those can make me angry – people who DNF because they didn’t like a certain plot twist that actually works well if they kept going, others who talk about how a book was the most fantastic thing ever when it was horribly written, etc. The worst for me is when someone marks a review with 1-star and complains about either the graphic nature or lack of heat, especially when it clearly stats the type of heat to expect in the summary. Don’t read something marked “erotica” if you don’t want bedroom scenes, and don’t read Christian romance novels if you do! I know everyone has their preferences, but it can still feel frustrating.

    All in all, I’m not sure there is ever a right time to read a book review, simply because each person reads books in their own way, with their own life experiences influencing not only the type of books they like to read, but the way they see the characters and plots. I definitely support reviews because I have discovered some FANTASTIC books that way that I never would’ve picked up otherwise.