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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Think Like a Street Photographer

Matt Stuart. Orion Publishing. (128p) ISBN 9781786277282

Think Like a Street Photographer

Think Like a Street Photographer

This was one of the books that I got on a visit to the Baltic in Gateshead a little while back.

I thought I would get this as I loved Matt Stuarts photo that was on the front of the book Street Photography Now, the one of the marching pigeon, and the cover photo of this book was fun!

A fun little book broken down into short but informative chapters on various aspects of street photography and how Matt approaches them.

The best bit about the book is that he gives you no ‘rules’ just some tips on how he works and what works for him and lets you run with the ideas.

From ‘Think Lucky, Be Lucky’ where he talks about a positive attitude in looking for photographs all the way to ‘The Last Word’ talking about striving and pushing yourself, this is full of really helpful thoughts that I’m going to try and fold into my own practice.

The whole is supported so well with great examples of his own work, highlighting what he is trying to explain in a visual manner.

A lovely little book that can be carried in your bag and referenced when having a cup of coffee and thinking about what and where next when out and about with your camera.


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.

A Madness of Angels

Kate Griffin. Little Brown. (496p) ISBN 9781841497334
A Madness of Angels

A Madness of Angels

I have several books I reread if I get into a bit of a rut and find myself unable to read, A Madness of Angels is one of them.

Familiarity is one of the main reasons, but this is such a great example of urban fantasy with a great original premise that it still grabs me and excites me after all this time (2009).

We are introduced to a world where sorcerers and other magic users tap into the magic around them in the urban environment, a world of litterbugs, neon demons, personifications of an idea, and hunger…

Matthew Swift was killed two years ago and is out for vengeance, maybe even justice. And he has very powerful friends/symbiotes/angels to help him achieve this.

A fast-paced urban fantasy which has a great twist on the genre. This first book is a brilliant setup for the rest of the series but doesn’t feel like just pure world building and exposition.

It develops the magic of the world perfectly, showing various different factions, various powers, and hints at so much more.

Some brilliant set pieces including a pit fit, dragons, aluminium fairies, Jeremy the Troll, and so much more make this one of my favourite re-reads.


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.

Treacle Walker

Alan Garner. 4th Estate Books. (160p) ISBN 9780008477790

Treacle Walker

Treacle Walker

I preordered this the moment I heard that Alan Garner was releasing a new book, his take on mythology in children’s fiction is always wonderfully nuanced and executed.

All the way through this there was the feel of an epic poem or a folk ballad with the prose being so lyrical and flowing and filling all the gaps of thought as I was reading it, it almost begged to be read aloud.

Treacle Walker tells the story of Joe, a boy with a lazy eye, marbles, and a chimney, his meeting with Treacle Walker, his desire to find the cuckoo and the changes this brings to his life.

There are hints of deep and old magics, especially in one of Joe’s dreams, where he dreams of music under the hill, a common theme of the fey in Britain where they will entrance you and lead you astray.

We see Joe and Treacle Walker exchanging objects and get a hint of the magics to come early on in the book and we’re never sure of anyones motives throughout. Full of strange adventures and mystical guides Joe has to navigate ever confusing worlds to realise his destiny.

Unfortunately this was only a novella and finished oh so quickly, but any longer and it wouldn’t have been as pin sharp as it was.

A brilliant book from a wonderful writer.


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.