Hello fellow book-a-holics,
I’ve been writing and publishing my book reviews for over four years now but before that I was an avid reader.
I know that other readers will be interested in my opinions about the books I read because before I buy a book, I always check out its ratings and reviews. C’mon, I’m not alone, you do too, don’t you? Whether you’ve loved the book or not, I think that if you give your honest thoughts and reasons why, then you will be helping people to find new books that are right for them.
Of course, at first I didn’t know how to start or what to write so I went online and read loads of how-to articles and blog posts. My best advice? Imagine that you’re talking to someone who’s asking you whether they should read the book. Don’t copy anyone else’s style; be yourself!
These are the 6 aspects that all of my reviews have in common and a few tips on what to think about as you start writing.
1. Start with a couple of sentences describing what the book is about
What genre is it? What world is it set in? As a general rule, to avoid giving any spoilers or revealing plot twists, don’t mention anything that happens from about the middle of the book onwards; I usually include the book’s blurb in my opening which covers that. If the book is part of a series, it can be useful to mention this and whether you think you’d need to have read other books in the series to enjoy this one.
2. Discuss what you particularly liked about the book
Try to focus on your thoughts and feelings about the story and the way it was told. You could try answering a couple of the following questions:
- Who was your favourite character, and why?
- Did the characters feel real to you?
- Did the story keep you guessing?
- What was your favourite part of the book, and why?
- Were certain types of scene written particularly well – for example sad scenes, tense scenes, mysterious ones…?
- Did the book make you laugh or cry?
- Did the story grip you and keep you turning the pages?
3. Mention anything you disliked about the book
Talk about why you think it didn’t work for you. Be a critic not a nasty bitch. For example:
- Did you wish the ending hadn’t been a cliffhanger because you found it frustrating?
- Did you find it difficult to care about a main character, and could you work out why?
- Was the story too scary for your liking, or did it focus on a theme you didn’t find interesting?
4. Round up your review
And lastly you should summarise some of your thoughts on the book by suggesting the type of reader you’d recommend the book to. For example: younger readers, older readers, fans of relationship drama/mystery stories/comedy. Are there any books or series you would compare it to? Are there any triggers or content that could offend?
5. You can give the book a rating, for example a mark out of five or even ten, if you like!
I use the Goodreads rating system to keep it simple, although I’ve started adding mini ratings for the book’s plot, the general flow and pace of the tale, character development throughout the book and the world building.
6. Include the links back to the author and any purchase links for the book
I’m writing reviews to help fellow readers find their next can’t put it down book so I don’t want to leave them without saying where they can buy it from! I also add a link back to the author’s website and where they can be found on social media – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
So, that’s it! If you haven’t written a review before I hope that this has de-mystified the process a bit for you. Feel free to go back through Flora’s Musings… and read my reviews if it helps – you’ll find them all in my archive or by searching the tag #book review. Remember, your opinions matter.
Bye for now, I’m off to read a book!