By Nora St. Laurent
A book review is a thoughtful discussion of a book’s content, style, strengths, value, limitations and recommendation for it (or not) for possible readers of a genre and/or subject. Here is an example of a possible compact review, “this book is a wild ride of adventure, romance and suspense. It would work well for a book club discussion. It includes discussion questions and recipes.”
A book review includes the reader’s opinion of their experience reading the book. It describes their reaction to the book. How it made them feel? Uplifted? Disappointed? Was it too scary? Too graphic? (Too violence, too sexual, and too much language) Where they glued to the novel? Slow in parts? Why? Give examples of what makes you feel these ways.
The length of a review varies from a single sentence, paragraph or a substantial essay. You can start with a brief overview of the story, without giving away any major reveals, spoilers or the ending.
If you are putting this review on your blog include: Title, Author, Publisher, ISBN#, Page number and release date (optional) Remember not to put the exact verbiage on Amazon. Mix it up a little. They tend to have identical reviews that are plastered everywhere deleted from there sight.
When you start – write at least 3 – 4 sentences about the plot. Keep these things in mind:
- What was the story about?
- Who were the main characters?
- Did the main characters run into any problems? (not spoilers)
- Who was your favorite character? Why?
Consider Your Personal Experience
- Could you relate to any of the character? Why?
- Could you relate to the subject matter and/or situation? Why?
- Was the book believable? Why?
- Did you like the book? Why?
- What was your favorite part of the book? (no spoilers)
- Would you recommend this book to another person? If so who?
- Does the book include discussion questions, recipes to be enjoyed at a book club meeting and/or get together?
Things to consider when writing a review.
- Do not tell readers how the book ends.
- Do not write about plot twists and surprises. These are spoilers. You want to create an interest in the story if you liked it.
- The review is about the book, its content and not about the reviewer.
- The review is for the reader, not the author.
- Be kind when writing a review. Books are like people. We don’t like everyone we meet and we do not go around saying bad things about them. Remember that a person with feeling worked hard putting the book together. Just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean someone else won’t love it.
- Book reviews are subjective as stated above. I may not like a book but someone else will love it. This has happened to me with N.Y. bestselling authors who are on my favorites list. There has been a time or two where I have not liked one of my favorite authors books.
On rare occasions I’ve asked to be excused from reviewing a book because I had nothing good to say about it. I also asked they not tell the author I asked to be released from reviewing it. I didn’t want to hurt their feelings. I might not have liked a book because I just read an amazing book before this one and/or read one similar in subject matter I liked better or I felt the book was too descriptive for my tastes and/or its too futuristic for my liking. As you can see there are a number of factors that go into why someone might not have liked a book; none-of which has anything to do with the author and/or the book. Enough said I only review books I like.
The Federal Trade Commission has made it mandatory for reviewers (of any product – revealing the truth in advertising) to be sure to include verbiage at the end the review that states where you got the book. There are hefty fee penalties for those that do not comply.
Because I receive books free on netgalley and other sources I always make sure I credit the source even if I received the book from the library and/or I bought the book somewhere other than Amazon. I use this verbiage. You can write what feels comfortable for you.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher (your source) I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”
Nora St. Laurent The Book Club Network Inc. http://www.bookfun.org. You can read author interviews, reviews, learn about book signings and about TBCN giveaways on the blog she created called The Book Club Network blog, http://www.psalm516.blogspot.com. Nora also does author interviews and reviews for Book Fun Magazine http://www.bookfunmagazine.com. Nora has also run book clubs face to face and online with more than 100 members. She enjoys working part-time for the Public Library as a Collection Support Aide.