Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Loved But Never Reviewed

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

This is one of those topics I could write dozens of blog posts about and still come up with more answers to it. I only write reviews of a portion of the books I read.

Due to this, I decided to share the reasons why I don’t write reviews of certain books I loved.

ceramic mug sitting on an opened book1. The series had an unexpected ending

Example: Jean M. Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear series

I loved the first few books in this prehistoric world. The last few instalments didn’t tie things up the ways I thought they would based on the early foreshadowing.

While I understood some of the changes the author made, I don’t think I’m the right person to review this series because of how different my interpretation of those early scenes was from the author’s interpretation of them.

2. It’s a classic novel

Example: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein 

Frankenstein is one of my all-time favourite classics! If we ever get another Frankenstein film, I will be shouting that news from the rooftops and blogging a (hopefully glowing) review of it.

With that being said, this story is 202 years old. Most people who want to read it have already read it, so I’d rather save space for newer books that aren’t so well known.

3. Mainstream audiences have embraced it 

Example: Andy Weir’s The Martian 

Now don’t get me wrong! I love it when people who don’t normally read science fiction discover something in this genre that appeals to them. It has made me extraordinarily happy to see this interest of mine become much more mainstream since I was a kid, and I welcome every new fan.

But I also feel compelled to focus on lesser-known science fiction stories, especially when they’re indie and/or written by writers from underrepresented groups.

4. I don’t know what to say about it 

Example: Emily Tesh’s Silver in the Wood 

This doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes I have trouble specifying why I love a book so much.  It could be that it reminds me of very specific childhood memories or that it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Those reactions are a great deal of fun, but I need to have a firm list of reasons for enjoying a story before I decide to write a full review of it. I always want to be the sort of reviewer whose readers receive plenty of concrete examples of why I liked it so much so they can decide for themselves if it’s the right read for them.

Reviewing is serious business in my opinion!

131 Responses to Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Loved But Never Reviewed

  1. Great list! It can be so frustrating when you sit down to write a review and realise you have no idea what to say about it, can’t it? I tend to find that with 3 star reads more than any other books.

  2. This post has given me such food for thought — I haven’t really thought about my own reasons for not reviewing a book.

  3. Agree, agree, agree. However, I’d like to call you on your thoughts about Frankenstein. I think you are wrong that anyone who wants to read it has already read it. I read Frankenstein because I read a review that challenged my ideas about the book. I loved it.

  4. Oooh I know Frankenstein and totally understand that those people who want to read it have read it and will read it, irrespective

  5. I like your sorting them into categories. I never finished the Cave Bear series — I read the first…five, I think, and they’d become just a caveman soap opera, so I didn’t see a point in reading the last book in the series. I’m interested in your comment that your interpretation of scenes was different than the author’s — care to elaborate?

    • Thank you, Stephen!

      I’ll try to answer your question without sharing too many spoilers. Basically, the first few books had a lot of foreshadowing about Ayla’s death, the growing cultural clash between The Clan and The Others, the idea that the two types of humans might find a peaceful way to resolve their differences and start trading, the fate of Ayla’s son, her relationship with her daughter, her use of that very dangerous root and how it could kill her if she tried it again, etc.

      The final book totally ignored all of these conflicts. To make matters worse, it made Ayla and Jondalar in particular behave in ways they would have never behaved in any of the previous books. (Other folks in their lives behaved wildly out of character, too).

      It was like a soap opera like you said. Very frustrating to me as a reader who thought there would be resolutions to all of the major conflicts.

      • I went back and read my ‘reviews’ of the series from thirteen years ago and I was VERY underwhelmed by the last book, in which nothing happened at all. I think I read reviews of the sixth book and got the impression it was more of the same. Thanks for the confirmation and follow-up info. I haven’t been tempted to go back to the series, but I sometimes wonder about the finale.

  6. Hi Lydia!

    Your arguments carry a lot of weight here. It’s going to stick with me. Couldn’t agree more. Great Post!!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier, I will be doing a small post on The Art of racing in the rain tomorrow, will send you a link.

    Have a great week!

  7. Love that you added your reasons for not reviewing a book and I can only say I agree completely. Most of the times when I don’t review a book, it’s because I just don’t know what to say, or because I feel like it’s already been reviewed a lot and I don’t have anything new to add.

  8. Nice list! I love how you included reasons you haven’t reviewed the books you mentioned. I think classics would be tricky to review!

  9. Great take on this week’s prompt! I can totally relate with loving a book so much that it becomes difficult to write a review for it because all you’ll do is gush about it and repeat yourself (or at least that’s how I usually get when I love a book wildly)! 😂

  10. I love your selection and the reasons you have cited. This resonated, too: “This doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes I have trouble specifying why I love a book so much.”

  11. Good reasons. I don’t generally review my series books like No 1 Ladies Detective Agency–you have to read them to understand what I’d say and it’s too hard to avoid spoilers. I have also struggled on classics.

  12. I love your reasoning! And I know what you mean about reviewing books that are already getting all the love. I also would usually rather talk about books that people don’t know about. (Sometimes, though, I’ve been talking so much about how I’m anticipating a hyped book that I feel I have to review it.)

    • I hope you have a great time reviewing that hyped book! It’s such a great feeling to finally read something you’re super excited about. 🙂 And thank you for your kind words.

  13. I have a problem reviewing classics too. I tend to think it is a good thing to review them in order to draw attention to classic pieces of literature. But I don’t feel like I can read a book that influenced society and modern literature and rate it in the same way I rate the latest rom-com or thriller.

    Great list! Mostly the ones I haven’t reviewed are just the ones I read before I started blogging.

    My TTT

  14. Great list! This makes a lot of sense to me. I don’t always review older books either, because they’ve been established for a while already. I like to focus on newer books. Also your fourth point is why I very rarely am able to review solid 5 star reads. I don’t know what to say except for “this was amazing!”

  15. Great idea! I agree with a lot of your points, I find it hard to review books that are really ‘mainstream’ or popular, and ones that are old! Theres something about old or popular books that makes it really difficult for me to articulate how I’m feeling.

  16. I really get what you mean when you can’t really explain why loved a book. It can be so frustrating because you want to share it with the world but really, your only argument is ‘it’s sooo good’!

  17. I completely understand your reasons. I struggle with reviewing books with surprising endings – I try to keep my reviews as vague as possible. And reviewing classics is pretty hard, especially when I didn’t love it.

  18. Great list! I think it’s really interesting to see your different reasons why you don’t review certain books! I don’t think I have such defined reasons, I just usually don’t get to it quickly enough and the book ends up a little blurry in my mind!

  19. I read more books than I write about, too. And I find it specially hard to write about the books I love the most. I saw the film The Martian, but it was´t my cup of tea. Mary Shelly´s Frankenstein is much more interesting

  20. I love what you did with this topic! It was so fun to read your different reasons why you didn’t review with examples. If I did this, I would include it was too good. Some good books are harder for me to review.

  21. Yeah I totally get what you mean. If I read a popular book and I see that it’s been talked and advertised about to the point of saturation I tend to not write about it and would rather reserve it to lesser known books or hidden gems.

  22. These are great points. I’ve actually had similar reasons when trying to write reviews. I really have been struggling lately! It’s so hard to write a great review for a book I love. I just feel like I can’t do it justice!

  23. Your thoughts on the Clan of the Cave Bear series have me really intrigued. That’s a series I’ve always been interested in. Now I’m more curious than ever!

  24. Great list! Also, thank you sooooo much for letting me know about my link. I just updated it in the link section and let Jana know in the comments that she could delete my response if she wanted since first one was weird. I appreciate it! WordPress was giving me issues today about posting originally.

    It is hard coming up with reviews for some books when they are so great but just do’t have much to say.

  25. Those are all great reasons for not writing reviews. I tend not to write reviews for classics — I mean, really, I’m not a literary expert, and I’m sure anything to be said about these books has already been said.

  26. This makes sense to me! I wish my reasons for not reviewing books I loved were so rational. Usually, I have every intention of writing a great review that will persuade other readers to try the book, but then I pick up the next book, start reading, and…poof! There go all my good intentions!

  27. I totally understand when you just feel like there’s nothing more to say about a book, in particular classics. I read Frankenstein several years ago and loved it but I just felt like who doesn’t know the story, right? Great TTT list.

  28. I’ve found a lot of people saying they don’t review the classics. I find that very interesting. I understand, to a certain extent, most of the reasons. But still more people feel this way than I would have thought.

  29. This is such an interesting take on this prompt! I know what you mean about not writing reviews for series with unexpected endings! My main one is not reviewing books with endings that catch me off guard because I feel the need to take time and process the story before writing, but then it takes too long!

  30. I love where you went with this. Yes on the classics. I also have difficulties pinning down reviews on books that are really well written but I just can’t “like.” The Golden Child is an example.

  31. #2 and #4 are my big ones. I haven’t gone back to review the classics I read in school. For more recent reads, sometimes I don’t know what to say about a book except that it’s amazing and I loved it.

  32. I’m curious since you said you only review some books you read. What would you approximate as the proportion of books you actually review? I don’t think I’ve had problems with the first point, but the others have definitely applied to my blogging as well. Sometimes writing a review is hard and it’s much better to skip the review and just let people know you loved the book.