Battling reviews: did they even read the same book?

Recently Breeder, my science fiction romance, received it’s 49th and 50th Amazon reviews. Reviewer No. 49 loved the book, while No.  50 hated it. While the overwhelming majority of reviews have been positive, Breeder has received such disparate comments, it’s almost as if readers read different books! These reviews go to show that no matter what you write, how you write it, two people can view the same book totally different.  You can’t please everyone. Here are a sampling of “dueling” reviews Breeder has received:

I could not finish this book. The abuse was horrible to read. The women in this sic-fi universe are treated like dogs. I do not recommend that you spend money on it. It’s not worth it.

I loved this story from the beginning until the very end. It had so much of what I love, a great plot told with exceptional detail, characters I became invested in, romance, danger, betrayal and suspense!! I loved it and it is definitely one I will read again with pleasure!! Well done!!


 The alpha male is weak, indecisive and clueless of what is happening in his household.

This book has held me captivated all afternoon. Cara Bristol creates a world very different from our own yet richly complex and believable. The plot twisted and turned in ways I didn’t expect. This book has it all — romance, suspense, political intrigue, and a hot hero.


I did not feel anything romantic whatsoever in this so-called romance novel. Dak still battled his conscience right up until the end of the book. All in all this story was depressing and tragic. I will not recommend this book to anyone I know.

A heartwarming story about a man who is conflicted between his heart and the way he was raised to be. Cara Bristol really pulled out my emotions with this story. I loathed the bad-guys and cheered aloud when they got their dues. I fell in love with both the Hero and heroine immediately and was sad when the story neared the end. I eagerly await the next book.


This book needed allot more history I think. To me it just muddled along and was very predictable. I had trouble staying interested.

Finally..something different and fabulous. It’s been a long time since I’ve read something that was hard to put down. Thank you!


There is no great ending, no real heroine, nothing really that really stands out. I would not recommend this book, and will be probably not purchase a book from this author again.

I must have danced around purchasing thus book for quite some time, and after thumbing through a few reads I finally decided to give it a go. Suffice to say I am only saddened I did not read it sooner. A powerfully emotional story with some terrific undercurrents in the subtext. Omra’s spirit breathes life into Dak, and the result is a beautiful tale, one I will certainly be recommending to all my friends. I’ll be looking forward to more great reads from this author.


This book was great for the first half, but then I got bored. It becomes VERY predictable. The author has a lot of potential though. I returned it- not worth $7 for a book I’ll never read again. But like I said, the first half was good.

Every thread in this story is tightly woven – there is not one scene (violent, erotic, or otherwise) or character that is unessential to plot or conflict – to build a tale that challenges the reader (and has personally changed me for the better)….and isn’t THAT what good sci-fi romance is supposed to do? YES!


I didn’t finish the book because I just got bored and sort of a little bit irritated by the abuse and the attitude of the men. It kind of went overboard with the alpha and beta and other levels of category….you know the egos and the power they have over women and the treatment of women.

Could NOT put this book down. It was set in a different world from ours but was so real. The characters were such that I could relate to them and their feelings. Cara did a great job building the story line and making sure that everything flowed together smoothly. Oh and did I mention that it was hot. I am looking forward to the next story in this series and intend to check some of her other stories out in the mean time.

And then there are the great reviews where the reader truly got it, like this one from number reviewer No. 51:

Whoa, this is… kind of good! The author takes the premise and uses it to spin out interesting ideas about feminism, dominance, the way cultures default to assumptions about “normal”, and the cost to all the square-peg people who force themselves to fit into round holes. I think that you’re primarily supposed to be interested in the sexy romance between Omra and Dak, but really I found myself gripped by “WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN?” about Dak and his weird little thing where he is unwillingly a leader of massive social change. It isn’t even really because he falls in love with Omra, it’s because he basically realizes that the way his culture treats women (and men, for that matter) is horrible, illogical, and fundamentally indefensible. I feel like Dak is a kind of proto-feminist, and his culture was oddly interesting.

CB_Breeder_coverlgBreeder Blurb:

To secure his legacy, Commander Dak, a ruling Alpha of planet Parseon, purchases Omra, a breeder slave. He intends to impregnate her, produce a son, and hand her off to his anointed beta partner. As Dak and Omra discover a sexual bliss banned by law, he begins to question the traditions and ways of his people, causing him to jeopardize his command and endanger the life of the woman he has come to love.

Breeder on Amazon


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20 Responses to Battling reviews: did they even read the same book?

  1. Wonderful post! It made me laugh, but you’re right about the wide range of opinions for the same book.

    Reviewers…who knows what they are thinking? However, I’d much rather read a review, whether good or bad, that explains the basis of their rating rather than simply “this was wonderful” or “this was horrible”. That’s not helpful to me as a reader or a writer.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      I do prefer the comments to “drive-by” reviews. And although I know you can’t please everyone, I do look at my reviews and decide if I need to change what I’m doing.

  2. Lisa Medley says:

    Books are like strippers. There’s something for everyone. Good thing strippers don’t get reviews, however. I can imagine how that would go. At least people were passionate enough to make the effort, ha! I’ve loved EVERY ONE of your books. Your writing is tight and filled with tension. I’ve had to skip ahead a few times to make sure it’s all going to work out okay. I don’t like surprises 🙂 Keep up the good work!

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Okay, now I’m imagining how a stripper review might go. “Great muscle tone, but he needs a little more hip action.” You were talking about male strippers, weren’t you?

  3. Sue Lyndon says:

    Crazy how different reviews for the same book can be. Everyone takes away something different, I guess, but some of the reviews have me shaking my head. Congrats on so many reviews, 50+ reviews for a book is amazing!

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Thanks, Sue. As of this morning, I was up to 52 reviews. I’m very happy with the response I’ve received for this book.

  4. Cara,

    It might amuse you to know that I recommended Breeder to a friend last night who is teaching a class on utopian and dystopian societies. It’s not quite either utopian or dystopian, but I thought the politics and underlying structure of the society would interest her. It’s a neat take on what happens when you take the notion of survival of the fittest to an extreme end.

  5. They say no two people read the same book… and it was quite apparent in this case. You can’t please everyone but I for one wish that people would stop confusing Dom Discipline and BDSM with abuse. Grrr. Anyway, Breeder is on my reading list and I have a feeling I’ll love it 🙂

  6. Great post, Cara. I love learning what readers focus on and how they interpret what they’ve read. The abuse in Breeder is essential to the plot. You are supposed to react to it negatively. Dak wouldn’t have a conflict without it. So, to have a reader comment “The abuse was horrible to read. The women in this sic-fi universe are treated like dogs,” makes you want to respond, “Um, that’s sort of the point.” Sigh. 52 reviews is amazing, even if they are divergent. Congratulations!

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Thanks. Many of the readers who complained about the “abuse” did not read to the end to see it turn around. I hope it’s not a spoiler to say that.

  7. Jade Cary says:

    I was a great book. Just finished it. I think that last reviewer got it right. It was a great take on social change, feminism, monogamy and a whole bunch of other ideas, but most of all it was different for this genre we do: it had a point and it made you think. I loved it.

    And yes, 50+ reviews is great. Congratulations.

  8. Heather Cole says:

    Congrats on 50+ reviews. That’s wonderful! I feel so conflicted about reviews though. On one hand, I want to think that they offer good feedback. On the other hand, I tell myself not to listen too closely because I’ll make myself crazy trying to appease every reader. In the end I go with my gut. I know when I’m writing something that comes from my heart, and ultimately, that’s what I’m most proud of. Each story is a project in its own way, and I think the most important part is whether or not YOU’RE happy with it.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      There’s no way to make every reader happy. The fact is some people aren’t into sci-fi, or dd, or even romance. How could you write a book that would satisfy those readers? You can’t.

  9. Karla Doyle says:

    Great post, Cara. And you’re absolutely right, there’s no pleasing everybody and each reader interprets a book in their own unique way.
    Congrats again on Breeder’s success. I thought it was a captivating read and a great story. 🙂

  10. Great post and so very true. I’ve had it happen to me as well – reviews at extreme ends for the same book (although 50 reviews! Wow. impressive)

    Slightly befuddled the first time this happened to me, another writer friend asked me if I wanted to read EVERY book in the local bookstore. When I responded no she said to me, oh so some books just aren’t the type that interest you? Ever since then I understand that not everyone will like the stories I write no matter how it is written.

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