Defining Terms: “I liked it, but didn’t love it.”

“I liked it, but didn’t love it.”

I’m guessing all bookbloggers have thought it, and most have written it at one time or another. But what does it mean?!?!?!

For me, it means that there was some element of the book that just didn’t entirely work for me. It may be the pacing, the characterization, the world building, or any other part of the author’s writing. I find that these books are some of the most difficult for me to review. I could rate books these a 3 or a 3 1/2 or even a 4, and it pains me at times to write that sentence. I was thinking about using some of my past reviews as examples, but I don’t want to rehash what some may consider to be a bad review. And I may just want to slide my number higher or lower on second thought…

This is kinda a short post… I guessing many other bloggers struggle with the feeling.

Maybe I can get your thoughts on this phrase. Have you used it or thought it and what does it mean to you?

20 thoughts on “Defining Terms: “I liked it, but didn’t love it.”

Add yours

  1. I say this sort of thing when there might be nothing actually wrong/bad about the book, but it just didn’t really click for me.

    An easy example for me is the first Harry Potter audiobook Potter book – as a bit of kids fiction it’s decent, but I just don’t have a connection with it. The book doesn’t want to make me reread it, and it would probably be forgotten sooner or later if there wasn’t all the hype for it and the later stuff. (an unpopular opinion I know!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I use it pretty frequently as I don’t think you have to love every book to be entertained. It just wasn’t memorable after a few days but I never once felt like abandoning it. These books require more thought in crafting a review and it’s critical I provide balance in describing what did and didn’t work. (The feedback I get from readers assert they’re helpful and often choose to add the book.)

    I’m equally drawn to character and plot-driven stories so I’m fine if one is lacking. But when neither are compelling but the storytelling is good, these books typically get that “like, didn’t love” statement.

    Thought provoking post!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I used this phrase in my last post. I usually mean that I enjoyed the book but something didn’t work for me. It wasn’t big r enough to destroy my enjoyment of the book, but it did diminish it a bit. In my last review, it was a character i hated reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There have been several instances where I can’t deny that the writing is quality, but for some reason it is not clicking with me personally. Like ONE WORD KILL. Fully recognize that there is craft behind that writing, but it was not doing anything for me emotionally! I can’t in good faith give a negative review in those instances, so it usually ends up in the 3 or 3.5 liked but didn’t love.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That is a great example. Much of what caught me about that book was the nostalgia, and if someone doesn’t connect with it, but that part might not work for someone. (not saying that that was your issue with it.)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is definitely something I’ve said, and that I feel quite often regarding different books. If I can objectively see that it’s a very good book, but it fails to captivate or resonate with me, that’s often all I can think to say about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Interesting post, and I have to admit I use this phrase often. For me, it generally means I recognize that the book has its merits, but there was nothing I would, well, love about it 😉
    I might even continue with the series, if I see some promise, but just as like I might never again revisit the author…

    Liked by 2 people

  7. “I liked it but didn’t love it” for me means that I had high expectations – either because the core theme intrigues me, or I read other works by that author and loved them – but those expectations are not met. And I agree, it’s always difficult to rate this kind of book: it’s a bit like a teacher saying that the student has potential but is unable or unwilling to tap it to the fullest…


  8. Yes! For me this is a catch all category for a lot of things. Ultimately it doesn’t mean it was a bad book but I feel like it comes across that way sometimes. It means it wasn’t a waste of my time but not a fav I’ll rave about.

    Liked by 1 person

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