This is kind of a rant, kind of a clarification. There is no governing body over reviewers. We do what we feel is right and try to hold to a similar standard as those around us. But what do you do when you’re torn between two standards?
As a reader, I firmly believe in my right to put down a book that I’m not enjoying. I don’t have to finish everything I start; and, after years spent torturing myself reading things I didn’t enjoy during my education (I still remember the pain that was 4th grade and Sarah, Plain and Tall), I refuse to do it when I’m reading FOR FUN. So what happens when I agree to read and review an Advance Review Copy of a book, but it turns out that book is not my cup of tea? And not just a mild “I don’t care for this”, but a hard “This is not something I would ever read.” How do I balance my belief that I don’t have to read something I don’t like with the commitment I made to the author? I know that authors say they’re looking for honest reviews, but it’s hard to post a poor review. Should you even post a poor review? As a reader, I read those and see why people didn’t like the book. Raving about how awesome it is doesn’t tell me anything, but telling me why you didn’t like it might save me the hassle of buying a book that will not be enjoyable for me to read. It’s a difficult question, really.
Should you always finish an ARC, even if you do not like the book? Is it truly an honest review if you continue to struggle through a book you are not enjoying just to complete it? Especially if the book is something you would normally stop reading as a regular reader?
I want to make it abundantly clear that I do not request books that do not sound like something I would enjoy. I will try new authors, but I tend to look for books that have info on them before I request so that I don’t fall into this issue on a regular basis. I generally won’t turn an author down if they’re going to contact me, but I also am going to be honest about your book, even if it looks unfavorable to you.
ETA: I generally contact the author and explain about my lack of ability to connect with the book and what it is that is causing that issue. I then leave it up to them as whether or not I post the review on Amazon and Goodreads, but I will always post the review on my blog. So far, I haven’t had an author ask me to leave off my review.