Reviews vs. Ratings

The Hobbit

The Hobbit

There’s been a lot of discussion on Twitter lately on a lot of different things re. ARCs, positive reviews, book bloggers, and their intentions when picking up books to review so I thought I would add my tuppence to it.

I, like most of the bloggers I chat with and follow, buy most of the books I review, the vast majority of them in fact. We don’t blog or review books for the free books, in fact we seem to do it as a bit of a compulsion and our sheer love of books.

I do love getting ARCs though and I only ever request (as do the majority of bloggers I’ve talked to) books I’m determined to read and review before the book is released and to fulfil all the requirements of the author/publisher in that respect. So far this year I have read all the ARCs before their release date.

My review policy though sometimes means I won’t review the book as I only give positive reviews when I do write one. If I’ve DNFed the book, or given it a low rating at Goodreads I won’t review it. Though every book I read does get a rating at Goodreads I really don’t promote that side too much as books are a very personal thing and books I didn’t like others may love and vice versa.

So if you don’t see a review of the ARC you sent me before the book is published it has probably fallen foul of me not actually liking the book and rather than write a negative review, I rate it and move on. This lets others who have loved it to fill the space and shout about it.

I would rather be shouting to the rooftops about the books I have loved though and will get those reviews out to anywhere that will take them to help give those books the publicity I believe they deserve.

I do realise that physical ARCs are an expensive product, so maybe easier access to eARCs (I only recently discovered NetGalley) would help bloggers to review wider.

It just seemed as though bloggers had been targeted once more as the villains of the piece where all the bloggers I know blog for the love of books and love of the writers and want to support the industry in any way they can.


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Saving Neverland

Abi Elphinstone. Puffin Books. (320p) ISBN 9780241473320

Saving Neverland

Saving Neverland

It’s always a treat to read a book by Abi Elphinstone and doubly so when it involves Peter Pan.

We meet Martha and Scruff in a family that is coping with mum elsewhere and dad working hard to ‘provide’. Martha is also trying really hard to grow up and be responsible after the ‘Terrible Day’

Into this explodes Peter Pan who needs their help to save Neverland from Captain Hook’s curse that has turned the beautiful island into a cold and frosty place with all it’s magic leached away waiting for the return of Hook and his pirate marauders.

At the start Scruff is abducted and Martha has to rediscover belief in adventure to save her brother, though throughout Scruff shows his own development.

A wonderful adventure taking us on a tour of this wintery Neverland and finding conflict with tigers, sharks, and bears but Oh my! these are so different from your usual types.

Bringing new magic to the original story, with a new cast of Lost Kids, but still the good old Peter, Abi creates something new in a well loved world with a great story about family, friends, and responsibility and how we need to grow, not just up but around to be fully developed.

Oh and watch out for Armageddon!

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

The Vanishing of Aveline Jones

Phil Hicks, Keith Robinson. Usborne Publishing, (256p) ISBN 9781474972161

The Vanishing of Aveline Jones

The Vanishing of Aveline Jones

I love the Aveline Jones series of books, and was so excited when I found out that this was coming out just in time for Halloween, and was so happy when I got approved for it on NetGalley.

I dove straight into this on the day my holiday began and had finished it by early afternoon, it is so well written with great illustrations from Keith Robinson supporting the story.

Previously Aveline and Harold had been involved with ghosts and witches, but this time they have something even more fiendish to contend with, the Fae!

Aveline, Harold, her mum, and Aunt Lilian have gone to her long lost uncles home to sell it as he has been gone for 10 years with absolutely no sign of him.

Along the way they team up with a new character called Sammy (paranormal expert and blogger extraordinaire) to figure out where Aveline’s uncle has disappeared to.

This third addition to the series is the creepiest of them all, much darker in tone than the previous two and so well paced. Sadly it was all over with much sooner than I was expecting as I just tore through the book in two sittings (breaking for lunch).

Another brilliant book in the series and now waiting for the next, hint…


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

White as Witching

Katherine Buel. (268p) ISBN 9798845843753

White as Witching

White as Witching

I was so glad I asked for, and received this on NetGalley.

One of the better fairy tale retellings I’ve ever read and there has been a lot of them over the past few years, some better than others.

This pulled you in right from the start with a great pace that made you really want to find out what was going to happen next.

A beautiful story about love, justice, sacrifice, and redemption all based around various iterations of the Snow White story, and including bits from other fairy tales and mythologies thrown in for good measure.

What big eyes you have

The main character Snow, initially sets out on a traditional journey, one of hate and revenge, hardened by her experiences and memories.

This changes throughout the book until her truth is exposed and we can join her on her true journey.

An exceedingly well-paced retelling, twisting parts of what feels like old Germanic/Celtic folklore into the storytelling, especially with Herne and the depiction of the dwarves (had a bit of a feel of Wagner in there).

Kept you guessing right until the end on which path was going to be explored and tread.

and I was right about the twist in the middle though!


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.