Category Archives: Reviews

7 Tips on Writing a Review

I wrote this post a while ago, but have procrastinated in posting it. Truth is – I looooove reviewers. All of them. Book bloggers, wannabe book bloggers, occasional readers…my mother-in-law.  As an Indie author, I am extremely grateful for any review posted of my work, good or bad. Both of which I’ve had my fair share of lately. The fact that someone took the time to read my book is incredible. When they go one step further and share their opinion of my writing with the rest of the world, I am ecstatic.

Just to be clear, a bad review really does sting deep down inside. But after the initial blow, I come to appreciate them. They can provide constructive feedback and they offer a certain authenticity to the book. Besides, any publicity is better than no publicity…right? In fact, reviews I’ve read of other books rant and rave about the decisions a character made. Often, this can mean the reader became emotionally involved, and that is a good thing.

But there are reviews, and then there are good reviews. In my perfect world, this is how reviews would be done:

  1. Be honest, and write the review in your voice.
  2. Don’t start with the books blurb.  On sites such as Goodreads or Amazon, chances are the reader just read the blurb – they don’t need it repeated.  I do see the value in book bloggers including the blurb first on their site, however the review on your site doesn’t need to be a straight cut and paste into Goodreads.
  3. Start with the good.  Many of the reviews on my book start with the bad.  And don’t get me wrong – do include everything you want to say, just say something nice first.  On many sites, just the first few lines of the review is shown unless the reader clicks to expand.  That means when they are just skimming through all the reviews (which is very often what I do), only the first few lines have a chance to make an impression.
  4. Do say something nice.  The book has a pretty cover, the main character’s name is awesome, the author has good use of punctuation.  Pick one.  There has to be something nice you can say – especially if you finished the entire book.  To be honest, a review filled with snide or snarky remarks and nothing at all good to say will often be dismissed by your audience.
  5. Be a grown-up about it.  And this goes both ways – I’m looking at YOU, authors!  Chances are, at some point you are going to write a review that an author or someone else won’t appreciate.  If they choose to respond in a negative way, then they chose poorly.  Be the bigger person – don’t feed the fire.  Let it go; move on.  You have a lot of books on your TBR list anyway.  I have to mention a one-star review I received because of how much the reader hated my antagonist. I just wanted to respond – THAT’S THE POINT . Another reviewer gave me a low rating because the rape scene just wasn’t hard core enough. Wow, just wow, people. To each their own. It took a minute, but I didn’t respond. I moved on.
  6. Give the reader of the review something on which to reference.  Is this book like any you’ve ever read?  Which one?  Does this character remind you of someone?  Who?  If you want the reader to really connect with your reviews, give them something to connect with.
  7. If you are book blogger – get visual! Including the book cover goes without saying. But I love bloggers who take it one step further and include relevant pictures or even action emotions. Make the review fun! It should be as entertaining as the book was.

So there you have it. Bloggers, authors, and reviewers – what do you think? Have anything to add?

Advertisements

Something for Everyone

Although it isn’t my intent to regularly post reviews here, I’ve come across several ‘must shares’ in the past few months.  My list of top three reads so far in 2012 includes something for everyone:

YA Fantasy

Angelfall by Susan Ee

As a self-published author, her book has had amazing success.  With a 4.39 star average on almost 4,000 ratings on Goodreads, this is a must read for anyone who loves YA fantasy, and even for most of those who don’t!  Not usually a fan of YA books, there is a certain element of horror that really spikes up the interest level for me.  Word of caution, this is not for anyone squeamish to blood and gore.  This book has a great concept, great dialogue and character development and is very well written – a page turner for sure. I cannot wait for the sequel!

Click here to see my review on Goodreads.

Favorite Quote from Book: “We now play a permanent game of I-am-crazier-and-scarier-than-you. And in that game, my mother is our secret weapon.”

 

Fantasy with Elemental Magic

The Five Elements by Scott Marlowe 

I originally added this book because of the similarities to my own with elemental magic. I was curious to see another author’s spin on it. And boy, did my head spin. I could barely put the book down. I was immediately sucked into this new world, research on elemental magic completely forgotten.  The writing is sophisticated (not the ‘I did that’ and ‘he did this’ style that seems to be all the rage these days), the twists were amazing, and the pacing, character development, and dialogue were perfect! Scott is another self-published author with great potential.

Click here to see my review on Goodreads.

Excerpt from book (this sets the scene for the final climax): The folk of Norwynne fled from a land gone mad. Leaving behind what possessions remained to them, they abandoned the remnants of hearths and homes to flee into the night with only the clothes on their backs and their children held or dragged behind. They ran screaming and crying and praying beneath a sky turned crimson with blood-red clouds that spewed liquid drops of fire. The earth cracked, and convulsed, jarring some from their feet even as streaks of lightning, a score at a time, turned night into day. Tornadoes swirling with flame touched down everywhere, one coming too close to a fleeing group so that men, women, and children were sucked into the vortex and not see again.

 

Romance/Erotica

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

LOTS of buzz about this traditionally-published series, and the reviews are mixed.  The writing style is simple, shorter sentences but the content is definitely for mature audiences only.  Reading from the viewpoint of the MC, a recent college grad who experiences her first romance and sexual experiences, we witness all the nitty-gritty nuances of sex. And the author did not sugarcoat anything here, making for a very believable experience.  I loved the MC’s internal thoughts, and the e-mail exchanges between her and the protagonist were a riot. I’ve only read the first of a series of three, and will eventually get to the other two, but for now, my libido needs a rest.  (Pretend I’ve inserted a smiley face here – how the heck do you do that on WordPress???)

Click here to see my review on Goodreads.

Favorite Quote from book:

“Why don’t you like to be touched?” Ana whispered, staring up into soft grey eyes.
“Because I’m fifty shades of fucked-up, Anastasia.”

%d bloggers like this: