So recently I read this book and OH MY GOODNESS, it was sort of like listening to Band of Horses and drinking hot chocolate with salt and caramel. In other words, I loved it. If I'd reviewed the book according to how I felt about it, there would have probably just been a picture of me hugging the book. Because there are those books you just want to hug, right? (I am not crazy.)
The thing is though, I try hard not to review books based purely on how I felt about them, because not only is it often hard to turn feelings to words, but more importantly, I'm not reviewing just for me. I'm reviewing for other readers who may or may not have the same tastes as I do, who might know nothing about the book, who might love that book or might love one that I couldn't stand. I don't want to say this book was good and this book was bad, but rather here's what you should know about this book and here's what I thought was done well, not well, different, etc. This means that even when I absolutely love a book the review is sometimes/often more neutral, more... even-keeled.
If the pace is slow, I mention that. If the writing style is one not everyone will appreciate, I mention that. Same if the dialogue feels stilted or subplots feel contrived.
But I'm also going to mention if the relationships are great, if there's a well-written family element, if the writing is beautiful. And often, for me, these things will far outweigh the weaker points. But I'm not every reader; I'm just me. Which means that the books I love don't always get perfect reviews. And the ones I don't love sometimes get better reviews than I'd give if I were going off of just how I feel about the book.
This doesn't mean my reviews aren't honest, because they are, 100%. But they're also more logical and thought-out than how I instinctively feel toward the books. They're critical. The books I absolutely love, regardless of review, are in bold over here. (And, of course, on my ace-list shelf on Goodreads.)
And what about you, fellow book bloggers? Do your reviews always reflect how you feel about a book or is there sometimes discrepancy?