Lately I've been hearing a lot from people how they don't read reviews for a book they're planning on reading. In a way, I can understand that. (Especially when it comes to unmarked spoilers.) Some people say they're worried about plagiarism and unintentionally copying another review - while others are more concerned about coloring their thoughts on the books.
Personally, I really like reading reviews of books I'm interested in. Ever since I found Goodreads years ago, I've been using it to check what others have to say about the book. Sometimes I just quickly scan the first few reviews and if there's a common thread (such as the book needing an editor) I'll probably just give it a pass. However, sometimes I get really in depth reading the reviews there.
I like reading low rated reviews. One or two stars. For me, they're the most helpful because these are people (unlike what I always think of when I see a three star review) that were passionate about the book. But, unlike the fans that gush over a five star read, it seems like you get more information from the people that disliked the book. It seems like one and two star reviews make a real effort to tell you why the book didn't work for them and why it might work for someone else.
Once, I even decided to read a book based solely on a single one star review at Goodreads. The way the person described the book, everything they had problems with, made it sound like exactly my kind of book. While it could have been better, I did wind up liking it to the tune of three stars.
Then there's the bloggers whose reviews I just love to read. I've found some great books that way!
How about you? Do you read reviews if it's a book you want to read? Do you prefer reading low rated reviews or high rated ones?