Monday Musings: The Art Of The Book Review

book review

As a voracious reader of romance novels, one of the first things I look at when deciding to buy a book is look at the reviews. Truthfully, I don’t take much stock in them because I honestly find 95% of them to be total crap.  I look at them to review the review. Is that sick or what? But it’s turned into a mild obsession. Some of them are so bad, they’re laughable. You are not doing the author any favors by posting a 5-star review and your only commentary is “I loved it. Can’t wait to read more by this author. “ And conversely, 1-star reviews that only say “This book was horrible. I just couldn’t finish it.” What the hell kinda review is that?!

When I read a review, I want to know how the book made you feel; how well or poorly the characters were written; what the author did well; how the story could have been improved-you know shit like that. And I admit, I struggle with writing reviews myself. I find myself summarizing the whole damn book and virtually giving everything away. But I think my strong points include all of the things that I mentioned looking for in reviews. Vague and unsupported commentary isn’t helpful, but I know everyone has different views on what makes a good review.

What do you look for in a review? Or do you look at reviews? Do you write reviews? Talk to me…


5 thoughts on “Monday Musings: The Art Of The Book Review

  1. Good points listed. As a reader, first I read the book’s synopsis then all the reviews lower than a three. You have a valid point in that most don’t know how to write a review. I look at reviews as mainly for the author and not so much to dissuade or persuade another reader about the book’s merits. But that could be me. Also, leaving a review these days have become like a two-edged sword because you have some fans of the authors who take it upon themselves to engage an unfavorable review and berate not only the reviewer’s words but also, sometimes, his or her intellect. Reviews are needed, or so authors share, or else the authors would not offer ARCs and other types of free reads to bloggers and close beta readers, but again, when leaving a review, one should know there’s an art to writing them as well as to write one that may not draw the ire from others. Interesting post.

    1. Thanks! And going back to my previous post regarding beta readers, I think the author should be clear in their expectations when offering an ARC in exchange for an honest review because truthfully many of the ARC reviews that I read reek of favoritism.

  2. Reviews seem to be a big issue these days and readers in particular can respond very poorly to reviews they don’t like about their favorite author’s work. If a book is lower than a 3 then I tend not to do a review. 3 to 5 is what I mainly give books that I review. Again my reviews are not technical they mainly reflect how I felt about the story I read. Did it cause me to self-reflect, did I just plain enjoy the story, was there something in particular that stood out in the story for me and I do share if I did not like a particular character for some reason. I would say my reviews are for me and to mainly let the author know how their story affected me. I personally am not trying persuade any other readers to purchase a book because of what I say. I am trying to share with them how I felt about a particular story and that if they are interested then I think the story is worth a read. The other point that is important to note is that there are no standards/criteria by which reviewers review for example, you can only give a 5 if there was great character development. I give a 5 if I enjoyed the read or it made an impact on me in some way, so we all score differently. What I absolutely love, you may absolutely hate and we are both entitled to our opinions. This is what makes reviewing books very difficult in my view.

    1. Thanks for your comment Marcia. I too, do not try to persuade or entice readers to buy a book, but I also feel it’s just as important to rate a book you don’t like just as much the ones that you do. I feel it’s a disservice to the writer when we don’t tell them how we feel one way or the other. I know you and I have had a difference of opinion on several books because our perspectives are very different, and I think the author needs to see that. But ultimately it is up to the potential buyer to make the ultimate decision whether to purchase or not.

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