The Blog Squad - Part 15

We are a group of three book bloggers situated on different continents but brought together by our love for books and a penchant for talking about them. We’ve joined our forces to create a collaborative series of posts about book blogging and we hope you’ll enjoy the discussions.
BOOK REVIEWS BY DI - Di Hewlett


How do you handle review requests for a book series?

Di says....png
I actually get a little scared when someone offers me a book that is a part of a series or I want to request a book that is a part of a series! Starting ANY book is quite a large commitment, right? A series even more so. Now we’re talking about an ENTIRE series for review? WOAH!!

If an author or publisher contacts me about a series for review I’ll always ask them if I can take just the first book and see how it goes. There have been two exceptions to that and thankfully, both have turned out remarkably well.

The first exception was the Poison Study series where I actually requested a book that was #6 in the world that Maria Snyder had built. Poison Study had been on my TBR forever though and when I got accepted to review Dawn Study I binge read the ENTIRE series to read and review.

The second exception was the Red Winter Trilogy. I actually only MEANT to request the first book but I think I made a mistake and actually got the entire trilogy from Xpresso Books… BUT I AM SO HAPPY THAT I DID. Another firm favourite in my ‘best series of EVER’ list.

Amy says.......png
I once got a review request from an author who was offering book 3 of her series to me. In that case, I asked for book 1 instead because I didn’t feel comfortable starting in the middle of the series. She was happy to do that, and I got book 1. (Turns out I didn’t enjoy the series, so I didn’t get the rest).

But yeah. If I’m offered a book that isn’t the first in the series, then I‘ll ask for the first book instead and take it from there.

I do things slightly differently, though, when requesting a book myself. When requesting from publishers, even if I haven’t read the first book in the series, I’ll still try my luck for an ARC of the second if I’m confident it’s a series I can’t afford to miss. But I only do this for ARCs, and only when requesting from publishers

Overall, if an author or publisher makes the first move and contacts me with a request for a review of the second or third, etc, book of a series, I’ll ask if I can have the first book instead.

But if I’m requesting an ARC from publishers and I’m confident I’ll love the series, I might ask for the second book before I’ve read the first. Obviously, I could well be refused, but I try my luck anyway. And if I get accepted, then I’ll buy the first book myself.  

Do you think it's okay to DNF a review copy? Di says....png

I actually do… If you have, in all fairness, given the book every chance you can and you still can’t do it? If it doesn’t matter how much you read and your rating will still be negative - don’t force yourself.



The reason that I blog is that I enjoy reading and even if I’m given a book for review I still want to keep that fact in mind and enjoy the ‘work’ that I’m doing. Sometimes it’s worth pushing on with a book that isn’t something you might normally pick up, but only if you can still rate and review it objectively.

Publishers and authors are people too and they generally do understand that not every book is going to be for every reader, especially if you take the time to explain to them that the book just wasn’t the right fit for you and either you will review it negatively or not at all.

That being said I’ve only ever DNF’d one book so far and while it was unfortunately a review copy I knew there was no way I could enjoy the book.

Amy says.......png
I agree with Uma: I literally never DNF books, so I’m hardly ever faced with this dilemma. I’m strict with myself, and I make sure I finish the book. I also hate leaving things incomplete!

But I do think that if you receive a book to review and you’re struggling with it, you still owe the author a thorough read-through right to the end. Yes we’re not paid, and yes a book might surprise us and be torturous to get through, but my VERY personal opinion is to keep going.

If you’ve accepted a copy to review, then I think you owe the author a read and a review. (Especially if they sent you a print copy). And this makes me more careful when accepting and requesting, knowing I’ll have to get through the whole book.  

How do you handle writing negative reviews for review copies?

Di says....png
I always send in my reviews, even if they are negative. If the author/publisher wants me to remove it from my blog I normally will but I’ll let the review stand on Goodreads.



What I don’t ever want to do though is tear the author or the book apart, even if I didn’t like it. The author spent a LOT more time creating and crafting their book than I did reading and reviewing it.

If I’ve actually been approached by an author or publisher to review a book (as opposed to requesting it from them myself) and the review will be negative, I like to go back to them first with the news of the negative review and ask if they would prefer it if I don’t put the review on my blog. Sometimes they still want the publicity because if the review is polite and I put forward the reasons that I personally didn’t like it, it’s still garnering attention and getting their book out there which is the actual purpose of giving out review copies.

Amy says.......png

I’ve had to write a few negative reviews for review copies I’ve received, and it’s always such a painful and awkward process.


Like Di says, I’ll ever attack the author or bash them for what the book says - I’m judging the book and the book alone, and it isn’t fair to turn on the author. But if I’m writing a negative review, I make sure it’s honest and I say what I didn’t like about it. When I request books or when authors contact me, I always ensure they know my review will be honest.

If I receive a book from an individual author and I don’t like the book, I always “warn” the author in the email I send to tell them the review’s up. (And obviously I won’t tag them on Twitter or Facebook, etc). I just say something like “I’m sorry, but unfortunately I didn’t enjoy the book”. Just so they can make the call whether to read the review or not.  

To cut a long story short, I once had a very unpleasant exchange with an author who demanded I remove my negative review of her book or otherwise give it a better rating/review. I refused - on both accounts - and she continued to send me some unpleasant emails. That wasn’t a nice experience, but I wasn’t going to change my review to please her. And in contrast, I’ve given other books negative reviews and the authors have come back with a very polite response! So I like to think harassing isn’t the norm.

Go over to their collab posts to know my answers!:
Book Reviews by Di
A Magical World of Words


We hope you’ve enjoyed the latest in our series of discussion posts! Please talk to us and let us know YOUR answers below. What do you think of our responses? If you have any specific questions you’d like us to address in the future, please let us know in the comments section below.

Stay tuned for next week’s questions!  

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