What Makes a Good Book Review?
I’ve taken some time off from blog tours just to get my TBR pile under control. I will be doing some mini-reviews, not because the books are bad, just to save time. It got me thinking about book reviews in general and I would really love some opinions on some of the topics below.
There is no ‘Book Review Handbook’ and I love the reviews that are individual and show the reviewers personality, to me that is what makes a review stand out.
Spoilers in book reviews!
Sometimes less is more and I do worry about giving too much away in a review. My rule is usually to study the book description and see what the author is happy for the reader to know. Anything not included in the blurb doesn’t go into the review!
Another thing that worries me is ‘Am I Just rehashing the blurb?’ It’s a difficult one but I do think that a short summary by the reviewer is needed, just to set the scene. However, personal opinion is needed otherwise the whole exercise is pointless, but a little tact goes a long way!
‘How much to write?’
I have seen reviews that are so long it hardly seems worth bothering to read the book. No-one judges book reviewers by the length of their posts. If I loved a book I say so, if it was just ok I recommend to readers who would love it.
I used to pride myself on always finishing a book, no matter how bad it was. Then I got thinking… How many hours have I spent in my life reading books that I didn’t enjoy? The answer is Far too many!
Those hours could have been spent reading books that I loved, it’s a cliche but life really is too short!
Over time, I have got better at choosing which books to read and I haven’t given up on a book in the last year.
I am a sucker for a good cover! If the cover is great I’m already on board (it’s fickle, I know) Something that frustrates me is when the cover doesn’t resemble the book in any way. I like subtle clues in the cover that only make sense after you have finished reading. The thing that annoys me is when you sit down for a light, feel-good read and it’s dark and overpowering.
I have read some books with covers I didn’t like when doing blog tours. When the book is fab I feel a little guilty for prejudging.
Covers sell books, so is it right to say that you don’t like it?…..unfortunately yes but do it in a nice, constructive way. Opinions differ so you need to give a reason why you disliked it.
There are always book trends just like everything else, however, when you read as many books as I do it can become a little monotonous.
Here are a few trends from the past couple of years in the genres that I read.
1 Missing Children
2 Inheritance Properties
3 Second Chances
4 New Starts
5 Located in Cornwall
6 Mental Health Problems
Do you recognise any of them?
(Maybe other genres have trends too… I would love to hear about them)
When Review Fatigue sets in it is best to take a break, but with scheduled blog tours, you just can’t do that. There are ways to review a book other than the normal synopsis and personal opinion format. There is usually something good to say about every book if you look for it.
Remember this could be someone’s life work, a crass comment can have a massive effect!
Keep reviews fresh by concentrating on one of the following:-
Take a character, say what you like/dislike about them and throw in some quotes. Is the character multi-layered? Does he or she show remorse for past misdoings? Maybe they have another side to their character which you find interesting.
Say what you like about the location of the book. Maybe it is somewhere you have visited and it bought back special memories. Does the location description add to the story?
Take a favourite quote from the book and do a short analysis of why you like it.
How does the book make you feel? What emotions does it stir up? How did the book affect you?
Does the writing remind you of another author? You can make recommendations to guide the best readers to the book.
I would love to hear other opinions about What Makes A Good Book Review?.